Saint Clare’s Health System Makes ER Wait Times Available Via Text Messaging and Web
March 28, 2011
Greater Transparency Comes on Heels of Successful 30 Minute Door to Doc Program
Saint Clare’s Health System, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives, proudly unveiled today its new ER Wait Time program, in which patients can learn wait times at all three emergency department locations: Denville, Dover, and Sussex. Saint Clare’s strives for short wait times for patients, and 93 percent of the time, patients wait 30 minutes or less to see a doctor or physician assistant.
Publicizing the ER wait times, which includes the ability to receive information by text and web, is part of an overall effort to ensure patients are seen quickly by doctors in emergency situations. Saint Clare’s has reengineered its protocols, processes and staffing so that expert care begins in minutes. By Turning Promise into Practice, the advanced technology works hand-in-hand with Saint Clare’s mission for patient-centered care.
“With a text message or a simple website click, patients will know how long it will take to see a doctor before they ever set foot in the hospital,” said Jan Bednar, executive director of emergency medical services at Saint Clare’s Health System. “Furthermore, once they arrive at their chosen ER destination, their needs will be met with both compassion and quickness.”
The wait times can be viewed by text messaging ERWAIT to 77950 or by viewing saintclares.org. (Text ERWAIT to 77950 to receive ER wait times. Max 12 msg's per month. Txt ERWAIT STOP to 77950 to spot, HELP for help. Msg & Date Rates may apply.)
The wait times are the result of our successful Door to Doc program, which has been in existence for over three years at Saint Clare’s, and seeks to reduce patient wait time to 30 minutes or less through the use of a “green zone” system that prioritizes based on needed level of care.
“Thanks to our “green zone” system we are able to move patients with minor symptoms and injuries through the emergency department quickly and efficiently,” said Bednar. “It really is a case of combining emerging technology with rapid response.”
According to texting software companies, more than 90% of Americans own a mobile phone, and even two years ago, more than 1.5 trillion text messages were sent. Advances in mobile applications have allowed Saint Clare’s to reach out in ways that will benefit the community with simpler access to technology making health care decisions easier.
Each year, Saint Clare’s provides services to more than 80,000 patients through their three emergency departments, with an additional 25,000 covered by the hospital system’s Mobile Intensive Care Units. These numbers continue to rise and reflect an overall trend in NJ and the country. In fact, NJ hospitals treated 2.8 million patients in their emergency rooms in 2000 and ten years later, that number has jumped to 3.7 million patients.
Saint Clare’s officials were quick to stress that the wait time system should only be utilized by those who are not in critical condition, and those with medical emergencies should continue to dial 911.
“Bottom line is that this is smart, fast care,” said Suellyn Ellerbe, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. “We are proud of the work that our doctors, nurses and staff in the ER have performed, and think the wait time data affords the public another example of the excellent care that you receive when you come to Saint Clare’s.”
How Is It Calculated?
ER wait time is an estimate of the time it will take patients arriving at each Saint Clare’s hospital ER – who are not in critical condition – to be seen by a doctor or physician’s assistant. The wait time for each location is a rolling average that is updated every 15 minutes. Wait times are estimated, should be used for informational purposes only, and cannot be guaranteed upon arrival.
Actual wait times may vary, depending on the urgency of care required by the patients. Patients with life-threatening issues are seen immediately. Triage nurses determine the order in which patients are seen – prioritizing and treating the most critical patients immediately.
About Saint Clare’s Health System
Saint Clare’s Health System, which has served the healthcare needs of northwestern New Jersey residents since 1895, is the region’s premier provider of community-based healthcare and behavioral health services. Saint Clare’s operates hospitals in Boonton Township, Denville, Dover and Sussex Borough and other facilities located throughout Morris and Sussex counties. Saint Clare’s is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Denver, Colorado. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 73 hospitals; 40 long-term care, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two community health-services organizations; and home health agencies.