Researchers from George Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania found that getting emergency department (ED) admissions into their rooms sooner, as opposed to giving priority to non-ED admissions, would result in several million dollars more in net revenue in one year at one hospital, according to a study published online in the April 25 issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The findings show that reducing the boarding time of patients in emergency departments (EDs) can lead to improved revenue.

In a simulation exercise, researchers quantified the revenue effect of reducing boarding using data from one inner-city teaching hospital over two years during which the hospital had 36,000 non-ED admissions and 118,000 ED visits, in which 22 percent of those patients were admitted to the hospital and 7 percent left without being seen.

Although non-ED admissions typically generate more revenue than ED admissions ($4,118 versus $2,268 per inpatient day), a one-hour reduction in ED boarding time would result in about $10,000 to $13,000 of additional daily revenue from admitting patients who otherwise might leave without being seen and avoiding diversions to other hospitals.

The optimal strategies tested resulted in an estimated $2.7 million to $3.6 million more in net revenue per year.