I have been at home in Miami, FL for the last few days. It’s always fun to go home and see what has changed. It’s about a four (4) hour drive, so to pass the time, I count cop cars, telephone polls and billboards. It’s childish but it keeps me from a bad case of highway hypnosis.
During the drive, I saw something that just struck me as 1. damn cool and 2. in the “it’s about time” vein. What did I see? I saw billboards with the name and phone numbers for local hospitals, the approximate wait time in the emergency room (ER)….and a number to text (text “ER” to 23000 for more information) to get more information on the ER and wait times.
It turns out, this has been available for some time in the Miami area. I saw several different hospital ERs with this available. Which ones? Northland Medical, Kendall Regional and Aventura Hospital to name a few. It’s a fabulous idea. The one I really liked was for the Aventura Hospital. Why?
Well, the subject of emergency health care hits close to home for me over the past few years. I have some elder family members who have had to go to the emergency room. It hasn’t been a pretty site. Emergency rooms are awful. You would think by now it would be “take the urgent cases first and move on” instead of “fill out this form/insurance/etc and wait cause you aren’t bleeding to death on the floor”. It’s always a bad case of hurry up and wait. Well, when it comes to my family I can’t wait. By launching this idea of texting a number and getting a wait time, I can help my family get the help they need and quick. I can find that 5 minute wait time at a local ER.
It turns out that there is also a iPhone application to check on ER wait times. iPhone users can get up-to-the-minute wait times for all of the HCA East Florida Emergency Rooms by simply bookmarking a web-link. To add to your home screen from the iPhone or iPod Touch, just go to: er.hcaeastflorida.com.
It is all part of a program for the hospitals who are part of HCA Healthcare system of hospitals.
I hope this continues to grow for all ERs across the country. I hope that other healthcare companies that own and operate hospitals pick up on this and use the idea themselves. And, I hope if I ever need this or someone I love does, all I have to do is text.