"We don't think information hurts—people are only disappointed when they have expectations that aren't met," Finkelstein says. "We try to under-promise and over-deliver. If the wait is truly an hour, we're going to tell you an hour."
The wait-time app is not the only Web-based application in use at HCC. Under a partnership between HCC's New Britain campus and New Britain Emergency Medical Services, Inc., the Web-based LIFENET system helps speed treatment of patients having a ST-elevation myocardial infraction (STEMI). The system allows EMS to send an incoming patient's electrocardiogram reading to the hospital's ER.
Once an Emergency Department physician confirms a STEMI from the transmission that includes the patient's heart rate, rhythm, and electrical activity, an angioplasty suite can be immediately set up. The system's use can reduce angioplasty suite arrival time by about 30 minutes.
"With one touch of a button, they can forward the information to the iPhone of the on-call cardiologist—we are then able to view the EKG of the patient who hasn't even arrived yet in the emergency room on the iPhone," Finkelstein says. "If we can save time and get the process started before the patient even arrives in the ER, every minute we save is a better outcome for the patient."
Using Web-based applications, such as the ones incorporated at HCC, Finkelstein says healthcare providers can improve quality and patient relations across many areas of care.
"It's really become a management tool," Finkelstein says. "With one button, I can check the wait times and check the health of my department."