Counting Down To Your Next ER Visit

It may be a new trend in hospital marketing (or maybe not): A hospital system in Ohio has begun advertising emergency room "door-to-doc" wait times on billboards around town and on the Internet, according to the The Akron Beacon Journal.

Wait-times for six local ERs, operated by the Akron General Health System, are updated on digital roadside billboards every 20 minutes, the paper reports, based on current patient information from electronic medical records. The article states:

The campaign is geared toward patients ''who don't have to call 911 to come in,'' said Dr. Nick Jouriles, interim chairman of Akron General's Department of Emergency Medicine. Patients with chest pain, for example, should call for help, not shop for the shortest wait time.

''We value our patients, and we value our patients' time,'' Jouriles said. ''This is our way of saying, 'We're working hard to make our experience better and the time that they have to spend shorter for the same quality care.' ''

This program aired on February 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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