Quicker access: Company enables hospitals to shorten ER wait times
The emergency room at Lake Pointe Medical Center offers its patients
with non-life threatening emergencies an alternative to waiting to be
seen. Patients can go online and use InQuicker to hold a spot at a time
convenient for them. - Photo courtesy of Lake Pointe Medical Center
Historically, trips to the emergency room are an unpleasant experience for most people due to the long wait before being seen.
One company, InQuicker, has developed an online program to try and make the emergency room experience better for everyone. The company offers its online service to hospitals, urgent care centers and primary care physicians. Three local hospitals, Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale, Lake Pointe Medical Center in Rowlett and Centennial Medical Center in Frisco, currently offer the service to its patients. TRMC-Sunnyvale began using the service on Dec. 17 and Lake Pointe has been using it since September 2011.
"No one likes waiting in an ER, especially when sick," said Stephen Garrison, CEO of TRMC-Sunnyvale. "Texas Regional Medical Center at Sunnyvale always strives to ensure the emergency department treats patients as quickly and as expertly as possible, but delays do occur because some medical cases take precedence over others. InQuicker allows patients to estimate when they need to leave for the hospital, informs them if further delays occur and lets them know what to expect when they enter the emergency department."
"InQuicker was presented to us by our home office after a successful pilot. The service allows people to register online instead of waiting in the emergency room," said Bobby Montgomery, Lake Pointe Medical Center spokesman. "When they go online they are asked what their ailment is and for their insurance information. It shows them the times available and they can choose what works best for them. The information is then transmitted to a triage nurse and they get an email so we can get the paperwork ready when they arrive."
To use the service, go to inquicker.com and select the medical facility by selecting an available time and pressing the check-in now button. InQuicker estimates treatment times based on facility conditions and allows patients to hold places online. Patients needing immediate care will always take precedence over others. There is a link to the InQuicker site available on each participating hospital's website as well.
"It helps us be prepared for what's coming. We can get them back as quick as possible when they arrive, normally within 15 minutes of their scheduled time," Montgomery said.
As a safety measure, the system filters certain symptom keywords that could indicate life-threatening medical conditions. Patients with symptoms indicating life-threatening medical conditions are prompted to dial 911 or to go to the nearest emergency department immediately.
InQuicker partners with 196 health care facilities nationwide. The company recently released an independent study showing eight out of 10 ER patients using InQuicker spend less than 15 minutes in hospital waiting rooms before seeing health professionals.
"We started InQuicker in 2006 with emergency room scheduling and have since expanded to urgent care facilities and general practitioner scheduling," said Chris Song, InQuicker spokesman. "InQuicker helps improve the conditions of the emergency rooms for the patients and medical personnel. It also helps to reduce the risk of infections since patients aren't waiting as long to be seen."
For information about TRMC-Sunnyvale, visit www.TexasRegionalMedicalCenter.com. For information about Lake Pointe Medical Center, visit lakepointemedical.com. For information about Centennial Medical Center, visit http://www.centennialmedcenter.com. For information about InQuicker, go to http://www.InQuicker.com.
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