There is a new smartphone technology that may soon allow Tri-Cities residents to pull out their cell phone and find out which emergency room has the least wait time. It is called Med WaitTime, and it has been developed by a doctor to help patients manage their waiting times for doctor's appointments or other medical visits.
Dr.Vishal Mehta, an orthopedic surgeon, started the company after feeling bad about keeping his patients waiting so often. The Chicago area is up and running, with 10 doctors participating. A few more major participants are expected soon.
The Wall Street Journal had an article on May 25, 2010, discussing the new system and the likelihood of its implementation nationwide. There are some who doubt it's effectiveness because of the elderly population's lack of technology and the need for manual updates from the medical professionals.
Imagine the scenario. You are ice skating at the Bristol Motor Speedway Ice rink, and one of your children falls and needs immediate medical attention. You could pull out your Blackberry or other smartphone and find out whether you should take them to Wellmont Bristol, Johnson City Medical Center, Holston Valley Hospital in Kingsport, or Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethton. You would be able to find out what the wait time was at any of the facilities.
Maybe you are very busy at work, but you have a doctor's appointment at Sapling Grove in Bristol. Before you leave work, you could check and see if they are running on schedule. You would type in the doctor and zip code to find out how far off schedule they are. You could stay at work a little longer, instead of wasting your afternoon in a waiting room.
That is, you could if they were participating, which, they are not. I went to the website, and tried to find any hospital around Knoxville, Tennessee, with no luck. Maybe they will implement it soon. We will be waiting!