Sitting In The Waiting Room.
Taking A Look Into The Demographics of ER Waiting Rooms.
By Jeremy on Thursday April 19 2012 at 1:05 PM
Driving up and down 75, which some of us have to do periodically, you might see a few billboards that tell you how long the ER wait time is at a nearby hospital.
That seems like some pretty helpful information to have. There's even an app for hypochondriacs and the accident prone to download for their phone. This way, they can always be abreast of the latest wait times at their local emergency room.
Credit a company called HCA North Texas for this miraculous breakthrough. They've rigged up these billboards, a full-service website dedicated to the cause, and the phone app -- all to provide real-time updates about the wait times at all of their emergency rooms across the DFW area.
Being exposed to this information had us thinking. What makes each of these wait times what they are? Are there regional factors affecting these times?
To check, we started logging the wait times over the course of three days to determine each ER's average wait time. Then we found the average home price in each zip code the ER inhabits and, thanks to the census, the percentage of renters in those regions.
It turns out there isn't much of any correlation of anything in the data set -- although there are some pretty interesting notes. Two of the lowest wait times do happen to be in two of the highest average home price locations. But the third lowest wait time is in far North Fort Worth, which has a pretty middle of the road median home price.
Then again, that area doesn't feature much of anything aside from 35 and the race track.
Of the three longest wait times, Arlington and McKinney each boast a high percentages of renters, and Arlington hovers in the bottom three for home prices. Denton, however, has a relatively high home ownership figure, and a middle of the pack home price average. We can probably blame the high ER wait times there on all those college students in that town.
Long story short: Next time you're in Denton and you break your leg playing beer pong in a black-light basement rave, you'll be able to tell if it's worth waiting at the Denton emergency room or if it will be quicker to drive back to Dallas.