Emergency Departments (EDs) undertake 1 in 10 medical consultations in Australia. Waits to see a doctor are highly variable and can cause significant frustration. Waits vary from one facility to another, from day to day and within a day with little or no visibility regarding wait time to consumers. Some Victorian EDs now use ED electronic information to predict wait times for patients.
Transparent wait time information is likely to significantly improve patient experience of emergency care, improve ambulance workload distribution (by diverting appropriate patients to less busy facilities) offload time performance (and therefore response time) and emergency staff experience.
There is little to no research regarding consumer and referrer perspectives on wait time information or how they interpret it (safety and decision making). Additionally calculating its accuracy, what and how the information should be displayed, has not been optimized. Finally there is no research on the real impact of wait time streaming on consumers’ experience, ambulance and health service performance.
We have a large, multicentre Monash Partners collaboration, including external partners. We seek funding for over 2 years involving:
Part 1 involves consumer work to determine whether wait time information is valued and how to present the information. We will also undertake data analytics work utilizing existing health services data to determine the most accurate way of calculating wait time.
Part 2 We will explore barriers to implementation (political, logistical, technical, financial) and will determine how to deliver information at point of care to consumers, paramedics, and GPs.