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Heading to the ER? Check your smartphone first

Posted by Sarah Thomas  October 15, 2010 09:13 AM

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Newton-Wellesley Hospital is offering a new suite of web services to help patients check in and determine wait times at its emergency room - a new website, mobile site for smartphone users, and iPhone app.

"We are happy to be able to offer our patients the tools they need to access important
health information fast,” said Mark Lemons, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine, in a release. “Our patient population is technologically savvy, so we thought this would be quite beneficial to them in our continuous effort to provide high quality care.”

According to the release, the wait time is automatically updated every five minutes and represents the average time it takes for a patient to be placed into a treatment room to be seen by the ER practitioner on duty. The service is meant for patients with urgent
complaints, but not for those with life-threatening emergencies.

Wait times are already available via the hospital's website, with a new mobile version of the site launching soon for smartphones. Additionally, an iPhone app with the wait time is being developed, and is expected to be released by the end of October.

"Utilizing a mobile app also allows patients to obtain other useful information – not just ER wait times,” said Sandra Fancher, vice president at MedTouch. The app will also contain hospital maps, pre-registration, and other features.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.

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