I think it’s safe to say that no one enjoys a trip to the emergency room, and no factor looms larger as a source of dread than the wait you experience when you get there. And no wonder, given an average emergency department (ED) wait time of more than four hours, according to Press Ganey.
More frustrating than the actual wait, however, is the lack of information, the simple fact of not knowing how long your wait will be, and the terrible feeling that you’ve been forgotten. Setting expectations and communicating with patients about their wait can dramatically improve their overall ED experience.
We’ve worked with two clients, Genesis Health System and Methodist Medical Center, in the past year to add expected ED and Urgent Care Clinic wait times to their Web sites. Patients can get an expectation ahead of time as to the wait they’ll experience once they arrive, can compare wait times between centers, and can make educated decisions on the use of the Emergency room. Patients are checking wait times in large numbers.
It just goes to show you that sometimes simple solutions can make a dramatic impact!