Patients use smartphone apps to find nearest ER

The Detroit Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System are directing patients to the nearest emergency room or urgent care via free smartphone apps, the Detroit News reports.

The DMC launched its free iPhone app in May--downloaded more than 1,000 times since--and its free Droid app in late October. The app provides phone numbers and driving directions to the nearest DMC emergency room, and wait times for patients upon arrival.

"People don't go to a hospital to wait," Dee Marx Prosi, DMC's vice president of marketing, told the Detroit News. "They go to a hospital to get care."

Henry Ford launched its free app for the iPhone, Droid and BlackBerry in September. It has been downloaded more than 1,960 times, and offers addresses and phone numbers for its nine ERs, four urgent cares and three after-hours centers. It also stores important data--such as emergency contacts, known medical conditions, allergies, and medication and insurance information--to help paramedics and medical professionals treat emergencies faster, according to the hospital system's website.

The DMC already is developing more smartphone applications and Henry Ford is reviewing additional ideas, notes the Detroit News. Both, however, are just part of a larger nationwide trend toward mobile health applications. The drive for health-related apps is on the rise as developers try to handle the growing number of smartphone owners. In fact, there will be 1.4 billion people with smartphones worldwide by 2015, and 500 million of them will be using mobile health apps, notes FierceMobileHealthcare.

For more:
- read the Detroit News article
- download Henry Ford's ER Locator app
- check out the DMC press release