InQuicker in More Hospitals

This week local Emergency Room wait time posting site InQuicker said that it now has partnerships with 118 medical facilities in 21 states. Patients use the online site to look at projected wait times and to hold their spot until a doctor can see them.

You can see the list of partner locations here. The idea behind posting wait times is to let patients who are in pain sit in their homes rather than sit in pain in a waiting room. The service also makes sure that patients are alerted with a phone call or an email if there’s a sudden delay.

This emphasis on customer service in hospitals seems new, and it’s certainly called for, some think.

“Whether the health care industry likes it or not, it is a service industry. That’s the patient perception, and perceptions come with expectations,” InQuicker CEO Michael Brody-Waite said in a release. InQuicker says ERs and urgent care centers are using their application to improve patient satisfaction and retain patients in-network.

But critics worry that publicizing wait times is a marketing strategy that can go wrong. Some hospitals pride themselves on being able to provide shorter wait times than others.

“I want to know what they do to shorten the wait. My fear is that they’ll cut corners,” Dr. Brian Goldman, a Toronto ER physician wrote in a post on Kevin, MD. “Just shortening the encounter between patient and health care professional to 5 or 10 minutes can shorten the overall wait, but at what cost to the quality of the visit?”

More facilities seem to want to put their wait times in public view. Hospitals throughout the country have been using billboards to post wait times in real time. Services like InQuicker just put them where people can easily access them. Since 2009 the company has increased its partner count from three facilities to its total of 118.

Health 2.0