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Metro Health Launches Text Tool for ER Wait Times

Posted: February 16, 2011

Wonder how long you’ll wait at Metro Health’s ER? Now you can text and find out in seconds.

Metro Health has become one of the first hospitals in Michigan – and the first hospital in West Michigan – to provide up-to-the-minute wait times for its ER. Potential patients can text the word "ER" to the SMS short code 40491 in order to receive wait time information sent directly to their cell phone or mobile device.

The feature, which launched on a trial basis earlier this month, also gives an average ER wait time for the preceding 24 hours. The wait time is defined as the time between when someone walks into the ER until he or she sees a doctor.

"If your child has a high fever or a sprained limb, waiting in the ER is stressful," said Helen Berghoef, director of emergency services. "Anything we can do to help relieve anxiety is good for patients and their loved ones. Metro Health traditionally has among the shortest wait times compared nationally to other ERs. Our new text tool makes it easy for patients and families to find out the current and average wait times.

"Our ER wait-time text is another example of Metro’s leadership in information technology. From being first to launch an integrated electronic medical record to having in-room patient education options, we strive to identify and implement leading-edge technology. Our goal is to provide the best patient experience – and in cases involving our ER, that also means helping people know the anticipated wait time before they arrive."

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