Waiting Times in Emergency Department After Using the Emergency Severity Index Triage Tool


1 Department of Medical Ethics, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran

2 Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, IR Iran



Hospital emergency departments (EDs) are as barometers of the health care system. Crowded EDs threaten delivery of timely care. Prolonged ED wait times reduce the quality of care and increase adverse and sometimes irreversible events.

The purpose of this study was to determine the patients' waiting time at Namazi and Shahid Faghihi hospitals in Shiraz, Iran.

Patients and Methods
This analytical cross-sectional study was conducted in two phases from December 2012 to May 2013. First, the researcher attended the EDs of the two hospitals and recorded the information of 900 patients who entered the ED, including arrival time, level of triage, and time of first visit by physician. Then, among patients admitted to the ED units, 273 were followed and waiting times for the first physician order in the referral unit and the commencement of clinical interventions (defined as check time by the nurse) were recorded.

The median waiting time from arrival to first visit by physician for the 900 patients included in the study was 8 (5-14) minutes [median (interquartile range)]. For the patients admitted to referral units, waiting time was 84 (43-145) minutes for the physician order and 85 (45-147) minutes for the commencement of first clinical intervention; 75% of the patients in triage level I, 84.6% in triage level II, and 95.6% in triage level III were visited within the target time limit.

Waiting time for commencement of clinical action in patients admitted to the EDs was considerably high for patients with higher priorities; so, rapid care of critically ill patients, identified during the triage process, should be emphasized.