Hospital wait times: The impact of connected community healthcare

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency departments nationwide handle more than 130 million patient visits each year.1 With so many patients in the waiting room, hospital wait times can be lengthy. However, the emergency department may not be the best place for many patients to receive care. In fact, just 38 million visits are related to injuries, and only 3.1 million visits end with an admission to a critical care unit.2

This means a significant number of patients are turning to the emergency department for intervention that can be addressed in nonemergent settings. According to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) research, “access and convenience play an important role in the choice to seek care” in an emergency department.3 A more connected healthcare approach could help ensure emergency services are deployed toward patients who need them most.

Why connected healthcare matters


The amount of emergency room visits that could be safely referred to primary care, urgent care or retail settings4


The 2021 annual cost of unnecessary emergency department visits5


Amount of emergency department visits that result in a hospital admission 6

How connected healthcare can impact hospital wait times

Secure, connected technology can help address hospital wait times and overall emergency department utilization.


Synchronous audio-video visits, asynchronous e-visits, chat-bots and text messaging platforms that use artificial intelligence or live providers can assess a patient remotely, including via connected care kiosks, both within hospitals and in community spaces. Based on this evaluation, providers can instruct patients on the best setting to access appropriate care.

Connected ambulance
On-site and en-route telemedicine provided by a community paramedic and a connected ambulance can support teletriage, expedite care and route low-acute calls away from the emergency room to urgent care, clinic or other provider services. Connected, mobile diagnostics (like CT scanning and ultrasound technologies) can assess patients for various conditions, such as stroke or appendicitis, enabling paramedics to discuss real-time assessment with ER hospitalists to determine next steps for intervention, arrival, or diversion.

Learn more

Learn more about how Verizon can help to design faster, smarter pre-hospital healthcare solutions.

  • The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.

    1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emergency Department Visits, December 2022.

    2 Ibid.

    3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Trends in the Utilization of Emergency Department Services, 2009-2018, March 2021, page 12.

    4 American Journal of Managed Care, Appropriate ED Utilization Leading to Better Care Coordination, March 2022.

    5 Healthcare Financial Management Association. Preventable ED Use Costs $8.3 Billion Annually Analysis, February 2019.

    6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emergency Department Visits, December 2022.

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