"Part of the reason we're able to do this is because we've been able to recruit great people who are really interested in providing this level of care."
Emerus began testing the program at its Craig Ranch and Aubrey hospitals in the Dallas area in early 2010. After the pilot showed promising results, Emerus rolled it out to its three facilities in the Houston area in October. Early on, Emerus promoted "15 minutes or it's free" with fliers to patients but has since launched a major marketing campaign that includes billboards, TV commercials and print ads. "During the first few months, only a few people were aware of it but now, everybody knows," said Park.
And it's helped generate higher patient volume. Park said it's too early to tell how well the promotion is working in Houston but they've seen solid results from its hospitals around Dallas. "We've seen a 35% to 40% increase in patient volume since we started the pilot program last year," said Park.
Park said he's not sure who came up with the idea for the campaign but said long waits – especially for emergency care – have long been one of the top problems patients bring up when evaluating the healthcare system.
"We were looking at what we were doing and what we could do to differentiate ourselves in the market," said Park. "And we decided the best way was to provide a better level of care than people were accustomed to and, so far, it's worked pretty well."