Reducing the Wait in Waiting Rooms

Health chain website lets you know at home when they're ready

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- When you're sick or injured you want medical care as quickly as possible. A health system in northeastern Pennsylvania is turning to technology to try to make that happen for its patients.

Who hasn't had to wait longer than you wanted for a doctor's appointment, urgent care or hospital emergency department visit. Thanks to a website, Commonwealth Health is trying to ease that frustration.

A hospital emergency department is about the last place you want to be. Making the experience even worse, the wait in the waiting room which James Waitulavich of Scranton experienced first hand. "I found a deer tick under my arm and it was there for a while and I was there for four hours." Needing medical attention, he rode out the wait. "What are you going to do, go home?"

Thanks to the website "InQuicker", Commonwealth Health patients can stay home until one of the health system's hospital emergency rooms, urgent clinics or physicians can see you. Essentially, you're scheduling a real-time visit. Wilkes-Barre General Hospital Assistant Chief Nursing Officer Todd Burda said, "You pick a time that is convenient to you and that notifies our staff and we're ready and waiting for when you get here."

InQuicker is geared toward patients with basic care concerns like sprains, strains, colds and some fevers. As you fill out the online form, the site is equipped with search technology to recognize the difference between described conditions that don't require immediate attention to more serious situations like chest pain. Mr. Burda said, "If it identifies a high acuity situation it will not allow you to pass that and it will give you a warning and it will tell you to summon 911."

Mr. Burda says the website compliments the goal of this emergency department. Get patients into an exam room as quickly as possible. Most of the InQuicker users have been mothers with young children. Mr. Waitulavich said, "It sounds like a good idea especially if you're dealing with children. If you've got a youngster that's injured, they're sick that's where I think that's a good idea."

Since launching InQuicker in January, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital has treated some 200 emergency department patients who used the website.


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