Across the country, hospital emergency departments (ED) divert patients to other EDs when they are experiencing high volume. However, a new study suggests that diversion is not only harmful to patients, but ineffective at preventing overcrowding and reducing ED length of stay. A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine examined ED length of stay and ambulance turnaround time in nine Boston-area EDs, where EDs have been banned from diverting patients since 2009. Researchers found that the average ED length of stay and ambulance turnaround time in those departments actually dropped when they compared ED records from 2008 and 2009. The diversion ban led to an ED volume increase of 3.6%; however, length of stay dropped 10.4 minutes for admitted patients and ambulance turnaround time fell 2.2 minutes. ED diversion is not the solution to ED overcrowding, but adequate staffing is. “If you want to impact crowding, ambulance diversion isn’t the best way to go about it,” study coauthor Laura G. Burke, MD, MPH, told HealthLeaders Media . “Hospital-wide factors such as lack of bed availability or insufficient staffing cause boarding in the ED, which is a much greater contributor to crowding.” Here at Barton, we have a strong network of locum tenens emergency medicine physicians and nurse practitioners who can help emergency departments manage short and long term staffing needs. Organizations that use Barton Associates ED providers are able to ensure patients have access to high quality care and maximize patient throughput. For more information visit our facilities page.