LOS ANGELES, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Anyone who has recently visited a hospital emergency room knows that there is often a wait before non-urgent patients can be seen by a physician. Patients with life-threatening conditions must be treated first, of course, but in Los Angeles County, the closure of so many ERs has left the remaining facilities overburdened with patients. The recession has also left many community residents out of work and without health insurance, so patients are using the ER as their primary source of medical care. Lakewood Regional Medical Center is addressing lengthy ER wait times with online services that promise to get patients in to see a doctor quicker. That was certainly the case for Jean Law and her young son.
"I'm a new mom, and my son is only a couple of months old," she states. "He developed a fever on a Friday night, and I knew I couldn't wait until Monday morning to take him to his pediatrician." Jean had seen bus ads promoting Lakewood Regional's new InQuickER service, which allows patients needing to see a doctor to go online and select an appointment time convenient for them. The service guarantees that the patient will be seen within 15 minutes of their appointment time in the ER, or the nominal fee is refunded. The service worked like clockwork for Jean.
"I logged on around 2 am and selected an appointment time of 5:00 am," she recalls. "When we arrived, I was taken right in to see the doctor." Jean appreciated the quick service, as well as being able to avoid waiting in the ER. "When you have a child that young, the last thing you want to do is to expose them to other sick people," she wisely notes.
Carole York was equally satisfied with the InQuickER service, as well. She was having trouble sleeping after a fall because of side pain and decided it was time to see a doctor. As a retired medical social worker, she knows what to expect of emergency rooms and Lakewood Regional exceeded those expectations.
"My experience with Lakewood's emergency department was excellent," she declares. "Sitting around waiting to see a medical professional, especially if -- as in my case -- it was not a life threatening emergency, is frustrating. I went online on a Saturday at 9 and took an 11 am appointment time. I got in right away. I would guess that InQuickER is also helpful to the physicians and nurses because they can better triage and prioritize cases based on need and urgency. In addition, the staff was fabulous. The nurse practitioner who saw me, Glenda, was warm and professional, and she followed up promptly the next day when I was having problems with my medication."
InQuickER is not the only new digital tool that empowers patients to take more control over their care. Lakewood Regional posts "real time" wait times on its website so patients can decide when it's time for them to come in to the ER. And the hospital recently unveiled its own mobile application to further connect the hospital to community members and increase access to health-related information.
The mobile applications are available as a free download for Apple and Android products. The application allows users to directly access the InQuickER registration screen and view ER wait times as well as maps and directions to Lakewood Regional. It also offers a list of frequently-dialed hospital numbers, a physician finder, first aid guide and health library. The "My Data" feature allows users to record important health information such as medical history, physician contacts, medications, allergies, emergency contacts and insurance information. Free downloads are available at www.LakewoodApps.com or by scanning the QR code with your Smart Phone device.
"Every day, people look for ways to manage their health care. InQuickER lets patient take more control of their schedules when they need to see a doctor. And mobile applications provide a convenient and easy way to access health-related information," said Joseph Badalian, chief executive officer. "The time has come to offer this technology to members of our community."
Patrick Houston, 562-602-6742
SOURCE Lakewood Regional Medical Center