If you’ve ever been to the emergency room with a less-than-life-threatening affliction, you know that there’s a good chance you might have to wait upwards of an hour before seeing a doctor. Well, not anymore, thanks to a new technology that allows hospitals to publicize emergency wait times via text message.
How does it work? Patients on the way to the hospital can text a designated number and, within seconds, receive a message that contains a list of local hospitals and their current emergency room wait times.
In recent years, some hospitals have used digital billboards or designated websites to publicize this pertinent information. Billboards are costly, however, and require that organizations have a large enough budget to spend on such technologies. While websites offer a cost-effective solution, they are not nearly as ubiquitous or practical as text messages. In order to find out the wait time from a website, patients must either waste precious time looking up the information before they leave the house – or have a smartphone and a driver so that they can access the site while en route.