If you go to the emergency room at than Southwest Healthcare System with a broken bone, how long will it take before you get pain medicine?
The federal government says the wait at Southwest—which runs Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar and Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta—is 62 minutes on average.
That's the national average but less than the state average at 69 minutes.
It's also less than Loma Linda University Medical Center in Murrieta, which is 84 minutes on average.
“With precious little fanfare, Uncle Sam last month rolled out a big, fat database with seven measures comparing a service that many people—healthcare providers and patients alike—consider the most critical any hospital can provide,” Clark wrote.
Data collected in 2011 and early 2012 also tracked how long it took for an ER patient to be seen by a healthcare professional and how long the wait was to get a bed if they needed admission. Other data showed how long patients spent in the ER before being sent home and whether they received a brain scan if they might have suffered a stroke.
Clark interviewed Dr. Jesse Pines, an emergency room doctor and researcher who directs the center for healthcare quality at George Washington University.
“The theory is that when hospitals report this information, it makes them focus on it, and improve throughout their [Emergency Department],” Pines was quoted as saying.
“But it’s very hard to do. Certain performance measures are easier to fix—like simple process measures like giving patients an aspirin—than improving ED throughput, which involves development of interdisciplinary teams.”
Pines told Clark the public focus good pushes hospital administrators to focus on the emergency room as well as other metrics.
The database said Loma Linda University Medical Center's emergency department had 11,848 patients, with 2 percent leaving before being seen. Southwest Healthcare had 40,399 patients with 1 percent leaving before being seen.
Compare hospitals in the area by visiting the Hospital Compare website. Then type in your ZIP code, city or local hospital. When a list of hospitals is displayed, put a checkmark next to two or three hospitals. Scroll down to a yellow button labeled Compare Now, and click to display more details. Look for a tab called Timely and Effective Care and click that.
Were you surprised by any of the stats displayed? Tell us in the comments.