What hospitals can learn from the DMV about wait times

Waiting at the emergency room (ER) can be like waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)--or it should be, according to Dr. John Maa of the University of California at San Francisco. After losing his driver's license and making an online reservation, the assistant professor of surgery and director of the UCSF surgical hospitalist program only waited 40 minutes, instead of the expected hours, reports MarketWatch. "I think there are great lessons hospitals can learn from the DMV," he said.

Some of those lessons include posting "no-vacancy" signs to let patients know the hospital is diverting ambulances or boarding patients on gurneys due to long wait times. Hospitals also should post this information online and on Twitter, said Maa, who added, "They should be required to let patients know if you come to our ER, you're probably going to wait." And with hospitals expecting a flood of 16 million newly insured patients under health reform in 2014, looking to other industries to discover ways to streamline the triage process will be key to reducing ER wait times and improving patient safety. Article

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