Reduced length of stay in medical emergency department patients: a prospective controlled study on emergency physician staffing

Eur J Emerg Med. 2004 Feb;11(1):29-34. doi: 10.1097/00063110-200402000-00006.


Objective: Patients, emergency department staff and hospital managers are often confronted with a prolonged length of stay of emergency department patients, with resulting overcrowding in the emergency department. We hypothesized that additional medical personnel would reduce the length of stay.

Methods: We prospectively studied consecutive patients managed in a medical emergency department by internal medicine residents during the evening shift. Data were collected on patients managed before (n=200) and after (n=160) the addition of a second physician on the shift.

Results: The addition of a physician in the busy evening shift decreased the length of stay from 176+/-137 to 141+/-86 min (mean+/-SD, P=0.012) for outpatients discharged after evaluation and management in the emergency department. The length of stay for emergency department inpatients admitted for hospitalization was not significantly reduced.

Conclusion: An additional physician significantly reduced the length of stay of medical emergency department outpatients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emergency Medicine*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Switzerland
  • Time Factors
  • Waiting Lists
  • Workforce