Got an Emergency, Why Wait?

Got an Emergency, Why Wait?

Program allows patients with non-life-threatening conditions to make ER appointments online.

Published June 6, 2011

Sometime or another you may find your self in the emergency room. For those that are fortunate enough to be there because of a non-life-threatening ailment, maybe a broken arm, you may wait for hours before you are seen by a doctor. A Nashville software-as-a-service vendor is doing something about it.

 

For $9.99 InQuickER will hold your place in line via internet so you can wait your turn in the comfort of your own home, instead of the waiting room. Patients that make an appointment through the service and don’t see a doctor within 15 minutes of the reservation time will receive a refund. The hospitals see this as not only a fundraising opportunity but also a chance to allow patients to wait where they feel at ease.  

 

The average wait time in an American emergency room can be anywhere from one to six hours, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians. Patients using InQuickER are asked to enter their symptoms into the website, which filters all of their information to nurses and paramedics in the emergency room. They will receive a confirmation call to ensure that their symptoms aren’t more serious.

“We know people want more convenience and communication in the ER experience,” explains Dr. David Katzin of Tenet Healthcare. “While estimates and averages about emergency room wait times may vary, many emergency room patients end up waiting several hours in waiting rooms with no indication of when they’ll be seen. With this service, users enjoy the convenience of choosing where they wait and a projected time to see a healthcare professional in the emergency room. Lowering the time spent in an ER may reduce exposure to some infections spreading in the waiting room,” says Katzin.

While this sounds like a great idea, it’s difficult not to think about how this will affect those who may not realize how severe their emergency is. Only about 12 percent of the individuals that come into the emergency room come for injuries or conditions that aren’t an emergency, according to the United States Government Accountability Office. Most patients need to come in and be seen right away. If there is a service that allows patients to sign up and wait at home how many people will die because they didn’t realize or articulate how urgent their situation was?

(Photo: The Plain Dealer/Landov)

Written by Brandi Tape

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