Case study 1: Hospital wait times

Hospital emergency departments (EDs) are often overcrowded and patients are often required to spend long periods of time waiting to be treated. Overcrowding places enormous pressure on hospital staff and is common to Australia as well as many other advanced countries. This study evaluated if the new workforce roles impacted on patient wait times in ED and the number of days admitted ED patients stayed in hospital. The researchers found that the introduction of a Clinical Assistant and an Operations Assistant led to:

  • Decreased wait times by 5-10 minutes for non-critically ill patients.
  • There were mixed results for ED patients that led to in-patient admissions and the number of days these patients stayed in hospital.

How did the PHRN infrastructure help?
The Victorian Data Linkages at the Victorian Department of Health (now known as the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services) linked two hospital data collections for the research team to analyse.

Scott A, Yong J.

Scott A, Yong J. Do new workforce roles reduce waiting times in ED? A difference-in-difference evaluation using hospital administrative data. Health Policy. 2015 Apr;119(4):488-93.Accessed 2 September 2016 <>