University Hospitals tests the patience of its patients

Shivalika Keni, Contributing Reporter

One of the best things about living at Case Western Reserve University—and University Circle in general—is the access to the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals (UH). These hospitals are accessible to students and members of the Cleveland community for research, internships, career opportunities and most importantly, in the case of an emergency. However, patients who go to UH may have to be extra patient when waiting to be treated.

Despite its size and facilities, UH has one of the longest wait times in the state of Ohio. The average wait time refers to the amount of time a patient spends in the emergency room before being seen by a doctor. According to a 2014 survey conducted by ProPublica, the average wait time at University Hospitals is 40 minutes, compared to the state average of 20 minutes. This means that UH has a wait time twice that of other hospitals in the state. This is a worrying statistic for those who live close to the hospital and more to students on campus who go to the UH Cleveland Medical Center in times of emergency.

In comparison to this, Cleveland Clinic only has an average wait time of nine minutes, which is three times less than the wait time at UH, and approximately two times less than the state average wait time.

Due to the excessive wait time at UH, on average, 10 percent of patients leave the hospital without being seen by a doctor, which is five times higher than Ohio’s average of two percent, an eight percent drop matched by Cleveland Clinic.

The reason for UH’s wait time is unclear. It could be due to a high volume of patients but not enough on-call nurses and doctors to attend to them. It could also be due to inefficient systems and software to log patients. Whatever the reason, UH struggles with its wait time and patients don’t get the care they need on time.

Members of the UH Marketing Department declined to comment on the statement regarding the wait time, so surveys were used to try to get a clear picture of UH’s and Cleveland Clinic’s wait times. ProPublica’s survey was collected and analyzed using data from submitted cases and patients. While this data is incomplete since it only includes every case and patient to walk through the door, it is enough to provide an idea of UH’s wait time and how it compares to the state of Ohio, and the country in general.

The question still remains why UH’s wait time is so long, but it is something to consider next time you decide to visit the hospital.

Note from the writer: The times mentioned in this article are average wait times, and not current times when the article was being written. In case of an emergency, call 911. CWRU students can also call the campus Emergency Medical Services number: 216-368-3333