Sierra Vista Posts ER Wait Times Online for Patients 
Ron Yukelson 
Thursday, 08 July 2010 

Sometimes the most painful part about going to the emergency room (ER) is the wait time. Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, recently introduced a new way for patients to find out ER wait times, before they ever leave the house.

Before heading to the ER, patients can now access the hospital’s website at  and check out the average door-to-bed wait time on the hospital’s homepage. Door-to-bed wait time is the average time a patient waits to be escorted to a bed from the time they arrive in the ER.

The time is tracked using a statistical tracker system that transfers data to an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. The feed automatically displays and updates the time online. Wait times reflect a rolling two-hour average and are updated every five minutes. Patients are seen in priority order based on the type and severity of their medical complaint.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average hospital ER wait time to see a physician is nearly 56 minutes. At Sierra Vista, the average wait time is usually under 20 minutes and patients are often in a bed within 15 minutes.

“No one wants to wait to see a doctor,” said Georgette Sabota, RN, Sierra Vista’s Emergency Department Director. “Our nursing staff and physicians work hard to ensure that patients are treated as quickly as possible, and now, just how quickly we can do that is available for everyone to see.”

The technology is designed for patients with relatively minor medical conditions. Patients with potentially life-threatening health problems should call 9-1-1 so they can receive life-saving measures in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Patients with medical emergencies, such as heart attack, stroke or traumatic injuries, are always seen immediately.

Dr. Scott Bisheff, Emergency Department Medical Director at Sierra Vista says the technology is helping the hospital address one of the most common complaints about emergency departments – long wait times. “A trip to the ER is something most people never want to have to face,” he said. “We can help patients with non-life threatening conditions know what to expect when they arrive at the hospital and ease their stress. Another benefit to coming to Sierra Vista is you have the support of a full-service acute care hospital with the largest panel of on-call specialists if something minor turns into something serious.”

The emergency department at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center treats approximately 22,000 patients each year. Patients to the emergency department are separated by clinical need into specialized care areas. All patients benefit from advanced technology, quick response and an experienced team of professionals who care for patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sierra Vista is also the only Emergency Room in the County that has a pediatrician available 24/7.

After immediate assessment, patients are assigned a priority based on the nature and extent of a patient’s injury or illness. The triage nurse will then engage the physician or other qualified medical person to continue care based on the assigned priority.