Reduce the proportion of emergency department visits with a longer wait time than recommended — AHS‑09 Data Methodology and Measurement

About the National Data


Baseline: 19.2 percent of persons had an emergency department wait time exceeding that recommended for any category in 2016

Target: 12.0 percent

Number of hospital emergency department visits in which the time to see an emergency department clinician (MD, DO, NP, PA) exceeds the recommended wait time.
Number of hospital emergency department visits.
Target-setting method

Percentage point improvement

Target-setting method details
Percentage point improvement from the baseline using Cohen's h effect size of 0.20.
Target-setting method justification
Trend data were evaluated for this objective but it was not possible to project a target because the Healthy People 2030 Workgroup Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) believed it would be difficult to sustain the decreases seen in the last six years. A percentage point improvement was calculated using Cohen's h effect size of 0.2. This method was used because the SMEs viewed this as an ambitious yet achievable target.


Methodology notes

A hospital emergency room visit in which the wait time to see an emergency department clinician (medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, physician assistant or nurse practitioner) exceeds the recommended wait time is determined by comparing the elapsed time from arrival to being seen to the recommended time frame based on the triage level noted. Recommended times:

  • Triage level 1 – immediate is defined as less than one minute,
  • level 2 – emergent is defined as 1 – 14 minutes,
  • level 3 – urgent is defined as 15 – 60 minutes,
  • level 4 – semiurgent is defined as 61 – 120 minutes, and
  • level 5 – nonurgent is defined as more than 2 hours – 24 hours.


Comparable HP2020 objective
Retained, which includes core objectives that are continuing from Healthy People 2020 with no change in measurement.

1. Effect size h=0.2 was chosen to correspond with 20% improvement from a baseline of 50%.