SAN ANTONIO -- A local hospital is cutting emergency room wait times to 15 minutes through an online appointment system.
As the stretchers are unloaded from ambulances and rolled into the ER at Southwest General Hospital
, Tracey Armer remembers, as a clinical coordinator, this is what she lives for.
"What I like most about my job is saving patients' lives," Armer says. "Teaching them how to help themselves."
Including showing them how to get "in quicker" to see a doctor - that's the name of a website hospital staff set up to help patients.
"I think it's going to be pretty revolutionary," Armer says.
She says the average wait time at Texas hospitals is four and a half hours, and some facilities have reported patients waiting 19 hours.
But with InQuicker
, patients can skip the line at the ER and wait at home instead.
Patients can visit the website and fill out a short form with their contact information and symptoms.
They'll instantly receive an email confirming their appointment time.
Armer says the same information is also sent to the hospital.
"It generates a report that's printed out for the charge nurses, who let the triage nurses know to expect this person," Armer says.
But unlike appointments to see regular doctors - where patients are often left waiting - Armer says patients are seen almost immediately.
"They are seen within 15 minutes of their arrival time," she says.
Armer says it's ideal for patients with sprained ankles or the flu, but not if their lives are on the line.
"If you think you're having a heart attack or any kind of life-threatening condition, please call 911," she says.
But for life's minor emergencies, doctors hope it will save patients major time.
Southwest General is the only hospital in the San Antonio area using a program like InQuicker
in its emergency room.
to book an appointment.