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Want to reduce ER wait time? There’s an app for that

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POSTED July 24, 2012 6:39 p.m.

So you broke your ankle slipping on that ladder doing something you knew wasn’t a good idea.

And you know that a trip to the emergency room – the crowded, overflowing lobby with waits that can stretch out to multiple hours – is in your immediate future for x-rays and crutches.

What if there was something that could cut that wait down time or skip the waiting room altogether?

Doctors Hospital of Manteca has something that does just that.

With the incorporation of InQuicker – a software program that allows patients with non-life-threatening injuries or conditions the chance to put their name in a queue – those that would have spent time waiting in a lobby can now do so in the comfort of their own homes.

It’s all controlled through an Internet site, and affords patients the chance to stick with the in-home treatment – ice packs and elevation and a mellow environment – that can make a huge difference in their outlook and their experience.

“It allows people to virtually schedule a place in line and wait at home in the safety and comfort of their home instead of coming to an ER waiting room where it may be more stressful on the patient,” said CEO Mark Lisa. “Of course there are caveats like when we get an ambulance or somebody with a higher need for immediate service, but for the most part people can schedule from the convenience of their own home – and they can access that from the web or the phone number that’s provided there.”

Utilizing the hospital’s smartphone app – which outlines real-time waits for the emergency room and provides a plethora of health information and is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play – also gives patients a chance to incorporate technology into how they view their healthcare.

While InQuicker and DHM’s app both serve a purpose by making life easier for those who need to seek medical attention, the digital age has crafted a handful of additional useful smartphone apps designed to help provide both broad and issue-specific insight and education.

Here are a few popular selections:

• American Red Cross – First Aid (Android and iOS, Free) – Provides expert advice for everyday emergencies on-the-go. Rather than simply listing information, the app provides a step-by-step checklist for everything from heatstroke to stroke – allowing the responder to better relay information to emergency medical services once they respond or are contacted. The information is preloaded on the phone so an Internet connection is not needed to access what is contained.

• WebMD – (Android and iOS, Free) – One of the web’s most popular medical sites has gone mobile with an app that provides nearly everything that can be found on the household medical research tool. Tabs for symptoms, conditions and treatments are all available on the mobile app, and individual personalization for quick access and bookmarking is also available.

• iTriage – (Android and iOS, Free) – Initially designed by a pair of emergency room physicians, the app helps people determine the severity of their condition and determine where it is that they should go for treatment. On top of providing cutting-edge medical information, iTriage also provides directions and access to local hospitals and doctors and conveniently lists emergency room wait times.

• 10 Second EM – (Android $2.99, iOS $1.99) – A rapid reference tool for emergency room personnel, the app also provides plenty of medical and healthcare information for those interested in medicine and those that might find themselves in an emergency situation. Not considered a complete reference tool, the app is great for people hoping to fill in the necessary gaps surrounding emergency room care.

• ICE: In Case of Emergency – (Android, $3.99) – By incorporating a list of contact data and medical information in an easy-to-find file on your phone, medical responders are able to determine basic information like drug allergies if a person were to become incapacitated. An emergency contact list also helps first responders. The file itself is easy to discover and can even be accessed if a phone is locked or password protected.

• S Health – (Samsung Galaxy SIII, Free with phone) – With Samsung’s newest smartphone comes a state-of-the-art health monitoring application compatible with blood glucose meters, blood pressure monitors and body composition scales. Having the ability to take the information on the road and track readings on a graph over a period of time helps provide health data that wasn’t available before when away from necessary medical equipment. It also helps users work towards health goals and provides an easy chart to determine progress.

• OnTrack Diabetes – (Android, Free) – This app assists diabetics in tracking their glucose, food intake, blood pressure, pulse, exercise and weight. Once information is put into the system a chart outlines the progress that the patient has made and gives a two-dimensional look at their diabetes – all data can be backed up for reference in the future.

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