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ERs turn to apps to let you know wait times

Thursday - 7/28/2011, 8:02am  ET

Smartphone (WTOP Photo/Paul D. Shinkman)
The use of apps is a growing trend among hospitals. (WTOP Photo/Paul D. Shinkman)

Kristi King, wtop.com

UNDATED - When you need an emergency room the last thing you want is a long wait. To avoid long lines, hospitals are turning to their websites and to apps to bring you real time information about how long you'll wait.

Inova Health System posts the wait times for nine emergency departments in Northern Virginia on a its website. The wait time information is updated every 10 minutes.

The information also is available through an iPhone app that will use your phone's GPS to direct you to the location you choose. App versions for other mobile devices are coming in the fall.

Posting emergency room wait times is a growing trend.

A lot of hospitals in Arizona have apps. In South Florida, billboards showing wait times are common along I-95 among hospitals competing for patients.

There are ER wait time billboards on the Eastern Shore, too. Atlantic General Hospital has one on Route 113 and on Route 50 outside Ocean City. The hospital site also posts wait times for services such as lab work and X-rays. And, if you need an app, the hospital has one for Androids, Blackberrys and iPhones.

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