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ER Wait Times . . . and the Beat Goes On

December 21, 2009
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Posted by Georgia Relich

Contrary to the belief that ERs are getting better at getting us in and out, the LA Times reported that in the November issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine median wait times increased from 22 minutes in 1997 to 33 minutes in 2006. This article talks about the various technologies–relatively simple technologies–that can be applied to basic customer service issues in healthcare.  For example, hospital systems with multiple facilities in a region post wait times for all their hospitals on big-screen monitors so patients can choose to visit a sister hospital, or InQuickER, an online registration company allows people to register for a hospital ER room on the Internet and hold their place in line. Even though ERs are never going to be big money-makers, they can be the first line of contact with a patient and a good experience might be enough to single the hospital out from the competition the next time.

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