The Hospital Corporation of America’s East Florida Division is using tech to “lure” patients into their emergency rooms–and are supposedly seeing success.
The campaign began with electronic billboards that blasted
ER wait times–sent via RSS feeds–to show that HCA ERs are indeed faster than
other hospitals in the area. The first billboard went up late last year, and
spokesman Ed Fishbough says they’ve seen “substantial increases in the number
of patients visiting all of our (12) emergency rooms in South Florida.”
HCA has also recently launched an iPhone app and texting
service for those who prefer at-the-fingertips service. The app iTriage
pinpoints all local ERs, with additional information–like current wait time–for
HCA hospitals. With texting, you send “ER” to 23000, reply with your zip code
after prompted, and then you get the address to the ER in your area, wait time,
and phone number.
Obviously, this isn’t for those in need of immediate
attention (heart attack), but could come in handy for those still needing
urgent care (broken leg). Though it’s not exactly groundbreaking, it’s helpful when
you have a choice of more than one nearby hospital in non-fatal situations.
There are currently five billboards up, and five more will
go up in the next two weeks.