Startup helps hospitals manage busy ERs

If you're familiar with the ease of using OpenTable--making one-click reservations for a restaurant on a mobile app or web browser--can you imagine doing the same for an overcrowded emergency room?

Nashville startup InQuicker claims to be able to do just that. The service is currently in use by 150 hospitals that have said they see shorter wait times and greater patient satisfaction scores. Stacie Pawlicki of InQuicker said most ER improvements have to do with load volume, according to a recent article in MedCity News. 

"They're being proactive to know who's coming in, which allows them to optimize flow," Pawlicki told MedCity News. This, she continued, is important as hospitals deal with more and more patients making unnecessary trips to the emergency room.

"The ER was the source of admission for a wide variety of clinical conditions, from medical and surgical disease to mental illness," Keith Kocher, M.D., of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan said in touting the results of a recent study on the increasing role of emergency physicians published by RAND. "It was also the source of admission for more vulnerable populations like the elderly, minorities and the uninsured."

The overage of people using the ER is made even more clear by a report published in April by Truven Analytics--more than 70 percent of emergency department visits from patients with employer-sponsored insurance coverage are for nonemergency conditions or conditions preventable through outpatient care, according to the report.

"The inappropriate use of ED services is growing, resulting in care that is more costly and lacks continuity," the report states, noting that people covered by private insurance are just as likely to overuse an ED as uninsured patients.

EDs using InQuicker's platform lets patients with non-life-threatening scenarios--those who normally wait to longest--to check in online, lessening their wait time in the hospital. Patients can opt to be told if there are changes in estimated wait time.

To learn more:
- read the article in MedCityNews

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