New services like ZocDoc and InQuicker allow patients to sign up for spots at specialists, doctor’s offices, or even emergency rooms through an online platform that lists available time-slots. This facilitates other kinds of conveniences. ERs that use these services, for example, will text patients to come later if the spot they requested becomes unavailable. The response has been enthusiastic on all sides:
Jersey City Medical Center and its two urgent care centers rolled out InQuicker two years ago and use grew quickly. Together, they draw roughly 300 patients a month — 70 percent of them new patients — through InQuicker and their own healthstops.com site.
“It’s helped a lot with patient satisfaction,” says operations chief Kirat Kharode. His ER’s average wait to see a doctor is 35 minutes, versus 15 or less with a reservation.
This is just one small example of how technology could not only improve health care but make our lives in general less stressful. America is full of people striving to invent things that make everyday life more convenient. Those inventions will take longer to percolate through some systems than through others. Restaurants have been using Open Table for years now, and health care is only now catching up. But hospitals and doctors who have adopted the system find it helps them attract clients, suggesting that once technologies like this get a foothold market forces will make other providers adopt them. However haltingly and incompletely, we will see more and more of these developments in the future—and they can come not soon enough to our bankrupt, inefficient, insanely dysfunctional health care system.