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Eastside launches public display effort of ER wait times

Special Photo — Eastside Medical Center CEO Kim Ryan stands next to a new billboard that displays the hospital's emergency room wait times. Wait times will also be available on the hospital's web site and accessible by smart phones.

Special Photo — Eastside Medical Center CEO Kim Ryan stands next to a new billboard that displays the hospital's emergency room wait times. Wait times will also be available on the hospital's web site and accessible by smart phones.

SNELLVILLE -- The days of wondering how long you may have to wait in the Eastside Medical Center emergency room are over. The hospital in Snellville has announced it will display the times on two billboards, the hospital's web site and on smart phones, spokeswoman Pattie Page said. The digital billboard already in place is at 1520 Tree Lane and Ronald Reagan Parkway, which updates a four hour rolling average every 30 minutes. Another billboard will display the times at Lawrenceville Highway and Killian Hill Road this week.

The displays are designed to help the "time-pressed consumer."

"In an emergency, every second matters. Eastside Medical Center understands the sooner a patient is seen by a medical provider, the faster appropriate treatment can begin," said Kim Ryan, CEO of the hospital, who added that this leads to better clinical outcomes and better service for patients.

Hospital officials define wait time as the time a patient comes in the door at the emergency department until they see a qualified medical professional.

Ryan said most critical patients are seen first, but demand for health services has grown recently. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in eight ER visits results in an admission to a hospital. But one in 10 visits are for non-emergencies, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.