The Akron General Health System in Ohio recently began advertising wait times for its emergency departments on its Web site and on billboards throughout its hospitals' service areas, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.
Six digital billboards in the Akron area automatically update every 20 minutes to show current average wait times to see a doctor at both a main ED downtown and in satellite EDs in the Montrose and Stow areas.
According to spokesperson Mike Bernstein, Akron-based Summa Health System currently is developing a way to share updated ED wait times and other information through mobile devices.
The health system is among many hospitals nationwide that are starting to advertise ED wait times through billboards, Web sites, text messages or social media sites such as Twitter.
Docs Worry Trend is Dangerous
Some physicians who practice emergency medicine are concerned that publicizing wait times could have dangerous consequences by encouraging people with serious health care situations to seek care in other settings (Powell, Akron Beacon Journal, 2/4).