Study: Requiring EDs to See Patients Within 4 Hours Decreased Overcrowding

Requiring emergency departments to see or discharge 85 percent of patients within four hours of presentation decreased overcrowding in three hospital EDs in Australia, according to a study in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Researchers assessed the effect of a four-hour rule on ED overcrowding in secondary and tertiary hospitals. They found that ED overcrowding at the tertiary hospitals dropped from 40 percent in 2009 to roughly 10 percent in 2011. The overall mortality rate decreased from 1.12 percent to 0.98 percent in the same time period.

The researchers concluded that a four-hour rule that requires EDs to see patients within four hours may reduce overcrowding.

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