Friday, Jan. 26, 2018
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- With the flu causing hospital emergency rooms all over the country being packed with patients, you may be wondering about how long it will take before you're seen.
Unfortunately, the answer isn't always as simple as telling you exactly how long it will be because different patients will take different times to be seen. However, historical data into hospital wait times for hospitals across the country are readily available, and at your disposal.
Non-profit news organization ProPublica has done the homework, and compiled an "ER Wait Watcher" which will tell you how long each hospital will take to see you, helping you narrow down who will see you the fastest.
Hospitals are required to report their average ER wait times to the federal government. The ER Wait Watcher takes it a step further by using this data and combining it with real-time traffic data from Google.
So how did the CSRA's major local hospitals fair on their wait times?
Doctors Hospital has one of the shortest average ER wait times of CSRA hospitals, with patients usually seeing a doctor within five minutes.
However, outpatients tend to spend an average of 2 hours and 17 minutes at the hospital. If you're admitted to the hospital, it takes approximately 4 hours 10 minutes from the time you enter the ER. You'll be in your hospital room around 5 hours 40 minutes after you first enter the ER on average.
However, all but 1% of patients who come to the ER end up leaving without being seen, meaning 99% are seen by the hospital.
University Hospital tends to have the second-shortest ER wait time with an average of 30 minutes before you're seen by a doctor. From there, if you're an outpatient, you should be heading home within 3 hours and 12 minutes.
If you're being admitted to the hospital, you'll wait approximately 5 hours 10 minutes from the time you enter the ER. If you're being put into a room, it takes on average 7 hours 14 minutes from the time you enter the ER.
Like Doctors, University's rate of patients leaving without being seen is also low, at 2% respectively.
AU Medical Center
Coming in at third, Augusta University Medical Center has an average wait at 54 minutes. That is a bit longer than the national average (28 minutes) and state average (32 minutes).
However, once seen by a doctor an outpatient can leave within 2 hours 31 minutes on average which is about as short of a time as Doctors Hospital and shorter than that of University.
Where you will see longer wait times is if you're being admitted to the hospital, which takes approximately 7 hours 10 minutes from the time you enter the ER. You'll be in your hospital room within 10 hours 47 minutes on average.
An average of 4% of patients leave the AUMC ER without being seen, which is a higher average than other local hospitals.
Aiken Regional Medical Center
Over in Aiken, Aiken Regional Medical Center also has a high ER wait time before you see a doctor with an average wait time of 55 minutes.
If you're outpatient, you'll be going home in about 3 hours 8 minutes. Those who are admitted to the hospital will be waiting for 5 hours 34 minutes, and it will take about 7 hours 47 minutes from the time you enter the ER to get into a hospital room.
However, like Doctors, Aiken Regional Medical Center has an average of 1% leaving without being seen.
ProPublica says that lower wait times are generally better and "all times refer to the average length of time people waited." They stress that you should call your hospital of choice to find out the exact ER wait time, as these times are just averages and not reflective of live ER wait times.
To find average wait times for other local hospitals in our area and more information about the ER Wait Watcher and the hospitals in this story, click here.