How long will you wait when you get to the ER?
There are a number of hospitals nationwide are offering potential emergency room patients the opportunity to view their emergency department wait times through billboards, Web sites, text messages or social media sites, such as Twitter.
In South Carolina, five hospitals including Grand Strand Regional Medical Center, Trident Medical Center, Summerville Medical Center, Moncks Corner Medical Center, Colleton Medical Center are offering such services.
Times posted represent the average times it takes a patient to see a physician after arrival. Wait times are updated every 30 minutes and represent a four hour average. The times are aimed at less urgent patients, not the true emergencies that automatically go to the front of the line.
The idea with displaying wait times is that people with less urgent conditions – maybe they need stitches for a cut or a splint for a sprained ankle – might drive farther for a shorter wait.
Would you drive farther if you were able to determine an average wait time to be seen in an emergency room?