An online tool might make your next hospital emergency admittance wait time shorter and, hopefully, less painful. In an attempt to make the most efficient use of the region’s hospital resources and to improve patient flow, local Vancouver health authorities are making their real-time emergency room wait times dashboard publicly accessible online.
The system currently lists the wait times of five of the region’s most busiest emergency departments: Downtown Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver’s Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, North Vancouver’s Lions Gate Hospital, and Richmond Hospital. More regional hospitals will be added to the viewable online system when more funding is made available for the project.
The system was originally designed specifically for paramedic and hospital staff use only. The average wait times listed on the website are based on the wait times of the emergency departments’ non-critically ill patients (critically ill patients are always seen immediately). The times are in real-time, updated every five minutes.
On the website, two sets of wait times are given for each hospital emergency room: the first set “displays the most current average wait time based on the last hour” and the second set “displays how long 90% of the people arriving [in the ER] have waited to see a doctor,” based on the last ten patients. The wait time for an incoming patient is within the range of these two times, although emergency demand can always change quickly and dramatically with incidents such as a serious car accident.
Given that some emergency rooms and urgent care clinics have certain operating hours, the system also displays whether the facility is open or not.
An example of the Emergency Room Wait Times Dashboard: On Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:36 AM, the emergency department at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital was not open. At this time in the early-morning, Downtown Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital had the shortest estimated wait time while Richmond Hospital offered the longest.
For your next trip to the hospital, if you are not in a critical situation and are walking yourself into the emergency department, check www.edwaittimes.ca to try to avoid long wait times to see a doctor. Another hospital might be a better alternative for you. The website is also optimized for mobile phone access.
If you are seeking serious medical attention (chest pain, severe bleeding, stroke symptoms), always call 9-11.
Some other helpful information for your next emergency room visit (taken from www.edwaittimes.ca):
Written by Kenneth Chan, the Deputy Editor at Vancity Buzz. Follow Kenneth on Twitter at @kjmagine.
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