NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For most patients, a trip to the emergency room can mean canceling an entire day's schedule and enduring long, burdensome wait times in the hospital waiting room.
But when Kayla Joyce Gilliam of Mauldin, S.C. went to the emergency room earlier this year, she walked right through the front doors and straight back to an examination room where hospital staff was anticipating her arrival.
"I had a condition that hurt a lot, one that you pretty much you have to go to the ER for," said Gilliam. "But it wasn't life or death, as if I needed to be there immediately. Everything else was already closed, so I decided to go to the ER. It took less than 5 minutes to complete the online form and start waiting from my office."
"Once I got to the hospital, the experience was fantastic," Gilliam explained. "I went straight back to triage, and then they took all my vitals and brought me back to a room. I literally did not wait in the waiting room at all."
Newly enacted health care reform legislation tying patient satisfaction to reimbursement rates places tremendous pressure on hospitals to maintain high standards of both clinical and non-clinical care while also dealing with increased patient volume.
Online waiting services, such as those provided by InQuicker (http://www.inquicker.com), provide projected treatment times to patients with non-life threatening medical conditions, enabling them to wait from home rather than the ER or urgent care waiting room. The Nashville, Tenn.-based health IT company also provides online appointment scheduling for primary and specialty care physicians' office visits.
InQuicker recently announced that its online waiting service has helped patients avoid more than 3,000,000 total wait time minutes that would have been spent in the hospital or urgent care waiting room.
"3,000,000 wait time minutes is a meaningful milestone for us because it represents so much more than time saved," said Stacie Pawlicki, Vice President of Marketing at InQuicker. "It's a measure of comfort and control for patients who depend on InQuicker for convenient access to care."
"Instead of sitting in a waiting room, we're giving patients the ability to wait from a more familiar and peaceful environment so they walk through the hospital's front doors already satisfied," added Pawlicki.
A growing number of hospitals have adopted online waiting service technology to achieve increased patient satisfaction, improve quality metrics, and create market differentiation in an ever-evolving health care landscape.
Medical Center of Central Georgia, a part of Georgia Health System and the state's second-largest hospital, recently announced that it has seen more than 25,000 patients using the InQuicker online waiting service at its emergency department in downtown Macon, Ga. and three area Quick Med urgent care locations.
"I deal with the patient satisfaction components of the hospital, and I know from the history we were looking at regarding patient satisfaction that we had an issue with wait times, with the perception of wait times" said Cyndey Costello Busbee, MCCG's Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications.
"We have a high quality emergency center, but I think most of our consumers would have thought there was a barrier in terms of getting access to us," Busbee said, adding that the service has markedly improved word-of-mouth referrals and wait time satisfaction for the hospital. "Now we've been able to solve that, and that's the ticket."