3 local ERs let you check in online first

7:42 PM, Dec 23, 2011   |    comments
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"You can also use your smartphone," Exempla Lutheran Medical Center's Bev White said.

White is the director of Emergency and Trauma Services for the hospital in Wheat Ridge.

The service, available since Dec. 14 in the Denver area for Lutheran, Good Samaritan, and Saint Joseph Medical Centers, is currently attracting a few patients a day.

"We've had six patients who have called in so far," White said.

A few minutes later, a seventh request came in.

Tracy McGinnis found out about it while trying to look online for the closest hospital to her new home.

"I've been here for less than a week," she said. "I'm assuming one of the best things about this is that you don't have to wait in an emergency room full of sick people."

Inquicker.com says it can offer a chance to "be seen by a health care provider within 15 minutes of your online check-in time."

But it's not for everybody, White cautions.

Those who put in symptoms associated with a possible stroke or heart attack will be prompted by the website to call 911, for example.

"But if you were to list that you're 31 years old and have a sore throat or cough, then it would allow you to complete the rest of the information," White said.

Of course, the whole thing likely begs the question: Aren't emergency rooms to be utilized by people currently dealing with emergencies?"

Maybe it's an indictment of the current state of the medical system, or maybe it's just reality, but in this day and age emergency rooms are often quite full with people with medical problems that don't necessarily need immediate attention.

"About 50 percent of [ER patients] do not necessarily need to be seen right away," White said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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