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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

The Latest In Medical Convenience: ER Appointments

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12,000 visits

The hospital network, which operates 39 medical centers in three states, began offering online reservations with InQuicker about a year ago. Since then, roughly 12,000 patients have scheduled visits for emergency rooms at hospitals in California, Arizona and Nevada, according to the company.

Bridget Duffy, chief medical officer at Vocera Communications in San Jose and an expert in the patient experience, said streamlining the emergency room experience for patients is necessary, but hospitals need do more.

They also need to assess patients quickly, improve communication with them and better manage their pain. Only then, she said, will hospitals be able to truly improve the patient experience.

For Scott Paul, the San Francisco patient, the emergency-room visit led to an appointment with a podiatrist a couple of days later, where he was fitted with a boot for a stress fracture. His only complaint is that everything happened so quickly he didn't get a chance to watch the U.S. play Portugal in that afternoon's World Cup game in the waiting room.

His wife had no such qualms: "We went to the emergency room and they said, 'We were expecting you.' " 

Victoria Colliver is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Wed, Jul 02 2014

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