Maybe This is Why You Have to Wait So Long

The emergency department would seem, at first glance, to be one of the more bustling spaces in medicine. With multiple patients in critical condition, it seems like it would be hard for doctors and other health providers to find a spare minute.

Except it’s apparently not that hard at all: A new study (flagged by Michael Ramlet of The Morning Consult) finds that for every hour emergency department workers use a computer, they spend an average of 12 minutes on Facebook — and that time on the site actually goes up as the department becomes busier.

From Sarah Kliff.

Comments (11)

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  1. Arnold says:

    “spend an average of 12 minutes on Facebook — and that time on the site actually goes up as the department becomes busier”

    – I find it interesting that the time on facebook increases as the store gets busier. One wouldn’t think that would be the case.

  2. Sam says:

    Very interesting and disturbing accounts. Although the research seems to be preliminary, I am sure there are some series correlations with the findings in most hospitals, which is a pretty disturbing reality.

  3. Tim says:

    This is a curious finding that merits further study and perhaps oversight in hospitals should ensue. These practitioners really need to be held accountable when they are responsible for a person’s life.

  4. Ashley says:

    I’m sure the administrators will have something to say about the results

  5. Bolton says:

    And think about the time they spent on facebook on their phones

  6. ILRando says:

    Former ER nurse here… nurses, EMT’s, techs, etc. aren’t the bottleneck in ED patient flow, they just aren’t. The busier the department gets, the more bogged down the bottlenecks become, the more time the staff has to kill waiting for labs to come back, patients to be seen by providers, radiology to be ready, the provider to make up their mind on the dispo, and on and on with things they have no control over…. This isn’t surprising to anyone who actually does the job.

  7. Studebaker says:

    for every hour emergency department workers use a computer, they spend an average of 12 minutes on Facebook

    I’m not sure which sounds more boring to me… Entering data on Emergency Room patient admissions or reading about what all my friends are doing while they waste time at work!

  8. JD says:


    That makes sense. How do you think we can fix that?

  9. Huda says:

    I feel like that’s unfair, today, checking on facebook is like checking you cell phone. It is an extension of your self and an effective way to connect with others.

  10. Dianne V. says:

    I agree with Huda, I am on facebook all the time, and I still count myself as productive.

  11. ILRando says:

    Stop worrying about lawsuits, stop worrying about patient satisfaction scores, and stop worrying about stepping on toes of other services and things move nicely.

    it’s truly provider driven. I’ve worked in a number of ED’s… the most efficient one was the one where the majority of providers were partners in the physician group that staffed the department at a large private hospital. They were motivated, they moved quickly, and they drove the thing. They were also comfortable punting patients out the door without first doing a million things to CYA if the patient had no business being in the ED, but that attitude is dying, unfortunately. Other ED’s that I’ve worked in are staffed by salaried faculty who just see things differently. Everyone gets the big workup because you never know who is going to be the one out of a thousand patients that gets surveyed…

    From a system perspective, ED’s need to stop being treated like holding areas for admitted patients. As it is, once it is determined a patient will be admitted, everything happens in the ED. labs drawn, tests done, meds given, consult services in to see the patient…. all happens in the ED so the patient sits there forever. We need to get to the point where once a patient is identified as needing admission and stabilized, they move.

    Start evaluating providers based on how quickly they see patients instead of whether the randomly surveyed person left feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and you’ll start to see patients move.