Emergency room wait-time horror stories are almost as frequent as the common cold.
“I have been in the waiting room for hours and hours and hours before in considerable amount of pain but it is what it is,” explained Ryan Wilson, a Moncton resident living with Crohn’s disease.
However, health officials at the Moncton Hospital are trying to buck that trend by using a web-based interactive tool aimed at helping patients find alternatives to the ER for what would be classified as “non-urgent” medical conditions like the flu, ear-aches, fevers and lower back pain.
“People just need to recognize that the services that they’re often coming to us for can actually be offered in the community and with the convenience of not having to wait for a very long time,” says Dr. Serge Melanson, the hospital’s chief of staff.
Services that can be offered by your family doctor, a professional at an after-hours clinic or even a pharmacist. The website is called “so-why-wait” and was launched in April of last year.
The goal was simple — reduce wait times by at least a quarter. It’s estimated that nearly 25 per cent of patients visiting the ER could actually be seen elsewhere.
People are using the site — it’s logged about 6,000 visits but health officials say they’re having a hard time determining the impact it’s having on the emergency department. They are pushing the site in an awareness campaign in hopes of re-directing emergency room patients which will, in turn, reduce wait times.
“I would encourage them to continue and just try to see why it’s getting a lot of traffic but yet not seeing the outcome happen when it comes to reducing the wait times at the hospital but I really want to applaud them for trying this,” said Premier Brian Gallant.