man with clock

Waiting

What is taking so long?

For several reasons, getting through the emergency room involves a lot of waiting. First, the high demand for emergency care overwhelms the system. Limited resources and an increasing number of patients lead to longer wait times. Moreover, the need for sufficient funding and staff shortages exacerbate the problem.

Second, the complexity of cases contributes to delays. Emergency departments must prioritize patients based on the severity of their condition, leading to longer wait times for less urgent cases. Additionally, patients without insurance or proper identification may face additional bureaucratic hurdles, further prolonging their wait. This fact surprised those who come to the emergency room with a “simple” problem, thinking they will get seen quickly. The opposite is true. I cannot take time away from someone ill and spend it on someone not sick. You wouldn’t even want that if you were someday the one who was sick. So, it makes sense.

Third, the fragmentation of the healthcare system in the U.S. adds to the delays. The emergency room is often the primary access point for individuals who need access to regular healthcare, causing overcrowding and straining resources.

Lastly, the legal and regulatory environment plays a role. Concerns about malpractice lawsuits and stringent regulations can lead to cautious decision-making and a slower pace of care.

How to reduce waiting

Addressing these challenges requires comprehensive reforms, including increased funding, improved access to primary care, enhanced coordination among healthcare providers, and legal reforms to reduce the liability burden.

And that last point, liability burden, is essential. We must rethink medical liability for better healthcare and more efficient and affordable care. Sure, if a case of wrongdoing or negligence leads to harm, one should be able to recover losses, but that’s not what is happening here. Our current liability climate is a billion-dollar solution to a thousand-dollar problem. Doctors try to protect themselves by ordering more tests. But ordering unnecessary tests leads to harm. So our system is overwhelmed with activities that have no value to the patient and cause harm.

And time is money. That time you spend in the waiting room while the patients ahead of you are getting medically unnecessary (costly) testing is a price you pay for our liability system. Demand tort reform.

Copyright 2024 William E. Franklin, DO, MBA

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Disclaimer:

The information on this website (the “Site”) is for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This disclaimer governs your use of the Site; by accessing and using the Site, you accept and agree to be bound by this disclaimer. If you disagree with this disclaimer, you should not use the Site.

No Medical Advice:
The content provided on the Site, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, videos, and other materials, is designed to offer general health and wellness information. It does not intend to provide medical advice specific to your condition or medical concerns. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this Site.

No Doctor-Patient Relationship:
Using this Site and transmitting information does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and the Site’s owners, operators, or contributors. No recipient of information from this Site should act or refrain from acting based on any content included without seeking appropriate medical advice from a licensed professional.

Use at Your Discretion:
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