OHSU publicizes its adult, pediatric emergency room wait times online

12/12/13  Portland, Ore.

A new and helpful resource—adult and pediatric emergency room wait times—is available on Oregon Health & Science University’s website.

“OHSU’s emergency room wait times are meant to provide information for patients or their loved ones as they seek health care services for non-life-threating, yet serious medical conditions,” said Dan Handel, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of emergency medicine at OHSU.

As one of only two Level 1 Trauma Centers in the state for both adults and children, OHSU’s emergency room is a 24-hour resource for serious or life-threatening emergencies. The online ER wait times are meant to allow patients and families to make important decisions about the availability of services before heading to the ER in a non-life-threatening situation.

OHSU’s online wait times are updated every 15 minutes and represent the estimated time it takes to see a qualified medical professional (physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner) based on the longest recent wait time of a patient currently waiting in the ER.

On average, OHSU’s emergency room wait times are about 28 minutes. However, that may fluctuate depending on the time of day, with short wait times typically occurring during the early-morning and late-evening hours, and longer wait times in the afternoon.

Additionally, the severity of patients’ conditions and the condition of other patients in the ER affect wait times. In an emergency room environment, all patients are evaluated based on their current condition; a patient with a very severe injury or illness may be seen before another patient who has been waiting longer with a less severe condition. Due to the unpredictable ER environment, online wait times cannot be guaranteed.

“If you feel you have a serious or life-threatening condition requiring immediate care, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital,” said Handel. “OHSU is always here to serve you; by visiting the wait time website, you will have a better idea of what to expect before you come.”

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only public academic health and research university. As one of Oregon's largest employers with more than 14,000 employees, OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of Oregon and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.