About Emergency Department Wait Times

El Camino Health works to provide prompt, efficient emergency care. For your convenience, we post the current average wait times, updated every 10 minutes, on our website.

Estimated wait times are approximate and subject to change.

Our goal is to minimize your wait and keep you informed. We measure and report the approximate wait time for our emergency departments at our Mountain View and Los Gatos hospitals. The wait times displayed on our website indicate the time it takes for someone to be screened for the first time by a provider, after being checked in. Updated approximately every 10 minutes, the wait times are averaged over the last hour. Although the wait times are approximate, they don’t guarantee your actual wait time.

After You Arrive at the Emergency Department

Rapid Medical Exam (RME)

After you arrive at the emergency department, a provider will give you an initial screening assessment — called a Rapid Medical Exam — in a special triage area. Your provider may be a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. While you wait for a room, we may start treatment, if needed, including any lab work and imaging tests.

Your Rapid Medical Exam allows us to care for you promptly even when our emergency department is filled with critically ill patients. Be assured that we are working for you behind the scenes — analyzing your lab work, reading your imaging tests and consulting with specialists. We can even review your test results with you in a private area of the department.

The Order Patients Are Seen

Everyone is prescreened to determine their need for immediate medical attention. Those who arrive by ambulance are typically seen immediately. People with life-threatening injuries or illnesses will receive medical treatment more quickly than those with less serious conditions. Also, if you have stroke or heart attack symptoms, we will deliver time-sensitive emergency care. If your condition doesn’t require immediate care, you may have a longer wait time.

After assessing the severity of your condition, the nurse will either bring you to a treatment area — assuming an appropriate treatment room is available — or ask you to sit in the waiting room. If your condition changes while you’re waiting, please notify the triage nurse.

Certain circumstances can impact the time you spend in the emergency department, such as:

  • Patients are treated before others due to minor illnesses or injuries; care is provided to them in fast-track areas.
  • You have tests and procedures that add to the length of your wait or stay.
  • Staff are tending to seriously ill or injured patients that may have arrived by ambulance through a different entrance. (You may not see these patients in the waiting area.)

We appreciate your patience as we work to provide the best care to all patients.

See our emergency care locations.