Children's hospital hopes to ease wait-time worries with app

Montreal Children’s Hospital is trying out a new, free app that could help ease the frustration of wait-times for ER clients.

App will give parents real-time updates of wait-times

The Montreal Children's Hospital hopes a new app will ease wait-time frustrations in its emergency department. (CBC)

Montreal Children’s Hospital is trying out a new app that could help ease the frustration of wait-times for ER clients.

The app, which is available online and on tablets in the ER waiting areas, will provide parents with constantly updated, real-time wait-times for their assigned priority category.

“We want parents to make enlightened decisions," said Dr. Harley Eisman, director of the hospital’s emergency department, in an interview on CBC Radio’s Daybreak this morning.

"If you come to the waiting room at 4 a.m. and you realize the waiting time for your category is five hours and you won’t have access to a health care provider until 9 a.m., perhaps you’ll make an enlightened choice and leave, or at least you’ll get a decent estimate of your situation.”

He hopes it will also reduce wait times overall.

Parents will also be able to register for text message updates of their child’s place in the queue.

Parents can receive text message updates of their child's place in the queue. (Montreal Children's Hospital)

Dr. Eisman said the app will also provide a better experience for emergency department users by freeing them the feeling they have to sit and wait or run the risk of missing their turn.

“Parents can go out and grab a coffee, have some mobility, put money in the meter,” he said.

Developed in-house by MUHC software engineers, the app will also prove essential to the waiting room strategy for the new superhospital, which will include the Montreal Children's Hospital.

‘It’s a virtual waiting room, if you will,” said Dr. Eisman.