01 August 2021

Katie J Walker, Jirayus Jiarpakdee, Anne Loupis, Chakkrit Tantithamthavorn, Keith Joe, Michael Ben-Meir, Hamed Akhlaghi, Jennie Hutton, Wei Wang, Michael Stephenson, Gabriel Blecher, Paul Buntine, Amy Sweeny, Burak Turhan

Emergency Medicine Journal

Objective. Patients, families and community members would like emergency department wait time visibility. This would improve patient journeys through emergency medicine. The study objective was to derive, internally and externally validate machine learning models to predict emergency patient wait times that are applicable to a wide variety of emergency departments. Methods. Twelve emergency departments provided three years of retrospective administrative data from Australia (2017-19). Descriptive and exploratory analyses were undertaken on the datasets. Statistical and machine learning models were developed to predict wait times at each site and were internally and externally validated. Model performance was tested on COVID-19 period data (January to June 2020). Results. There were 1,930,609 patient episodes analysed and median site wait times varied from 24 to 54 minutes. Individual site model prediction median absolute errors varied from +/-22.6 minutes (95%CI 22.4,22.9) to +/- 44.0 minutes (95%CI 43.4,44.4). Global model prediction median absolute errors varied from +/-33.9 minutes (95%CI 33.4, 34.0) to +/-43.8 minutes (95%CI 43.7, 43.9). Random forest and linear regression models performed the best, rolling average models under-estimated wait times. Important variables were triage category, last-k patient average wait time, and arrival time. Wait time prediction models are not transferable across hospitals. Models performed well during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Conclusions Electronic emergency demographic and flow information can be used to approximate emergency patient wait times. A general model is less accurate if applied without site specific factors.


  title={Emergency medicine patient wait time multivariable prediction models: a multicentre derivation and validation study},
  author={Walker, Katie J and Jiarpakdee, Jirayus and Loupis, Anne and Tantithamthavorn, Chakkrit and Joe, Keith and Ben-Meir, Michael and Akhlaghi, Hamed and Hutton, Jennie and Wang, Wei and Stephenson, Michael and others},
  journal={Emergency Medicine Journal},