WILMINGTON — In February CMH Regional Health System launched three Emergency Room wait-time billboards throughout Clinton County and a digital wait-time mobile app available for download on iPhone and Android.
The wait-time campaign is part of a larger transparency campaign that hopes to empower patients in care decisions. The wait-time billboards are outfitted with a digital box that displays the current average ER wait time, defined as the average time a patient waits after registration to see a medical provider in the room. These wait-times are continuously averaged and refreshed to the boards and the app every 15 minutes; the time displayed is an average of wait-times recorded over the previous two hours.
Dr. David Allen, Medical Director of Emergency Services, explained the value of communicating wait-times:
“We know that every minute counts when you come in our doors, and we’re committed to getting you to see a provider,” he said. “And honestly, it’s really about transparency — we feel that wait-time information should be readily available to all community members. It’s a reminder that we’re here and ready for you 24/7.”
The mobile wait-time app also gives a mapping option, making it easier for those unfamiliar with the area to quickly navigate to the hospital. Educational materials about the app and CMH’s Emergency Services will be provided to the chamber and to the local visitors’ bureau in an effort to better communicate local emergency services to visitors, new residents, and local businesses.
Wait-times vary, but over the last two years, CMH’s annual average ER wait-time has been just under 20minutes (in 2015 the average was 19.6 minutes). According to ProPublica’s state-by-state wait-time watcher, the national average is 24 minutes, and Ohio’s average is 20 minutes.
You can find an emergency room near you using ProPublica’s mapping tool. Wait-times shown for search results include both the average wait-time from registration to seeing a medical provider, and the travel time from your location to the emergency room.
HospitalCompare, a tool developed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also reports average ER wait times. HospitalCompare reports CMH’s average ER wait time as 15 minutes, Fayette County Memorial Hospital’s as 15 minutes, reports no data for Highland District Hospital, and reports Bethesda North Hospital’s as 46 minutes.
Greg Nielsen, CEO of CMH Regional Health System, reaffirmed the value of transparency in the ER:
“From the moment you come through those doors, your care and safety are our top priorities,” he said. “And we want to be as transparent as possible—we think it’s your right to know the current average wait-time and how it fluctuates throughout a given day or week. It’s a critical part of emergency care.”
You can download the Emergency Room Wait-time app to your phone by visiting www.cmhregional.com/faster.