Site helps you cut down ER waiting time

ER Wait Watcher uses data from Medicare's Hospital

ER Wait Watcher uses data from Medicare's Hospital Compare to give wait times to see a doctor after you arrive at an ER in area hospitals. (Credit: iStock)

You have an urgent but not life-threatening medical condition and decide to go to the emergency room. Do you go to the nearest hospital? In fact, the hospital you can get to the fastest may mean a longer wait to see a doctor.

A new website from not-for-profit organization Pro Publica may help you make a better decision. ER Wait Watcher (bit.ly/er-waittime) uses data from Medicare's Hospital Compare to give wait times to see a doctor after you arrive at an ER in area hospitals. It also includes how long it will take you to get to each hospital using travel time computed by Google. In many cases, going to a hospital farther away means you get to see a doctor faster, even accounting for the extra travel time.

The site includes hospital phone numbers so you can call to check waiting times yourself.

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