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Should ED Wait Time Billboards Go Blank?

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, January 15, 2014

But this practice drives up overall medical costs. The ED is a very expensive place to provide non-emergency care.

Tenet Healthcare, a for-profit health system with hospitals in 14 states, is expecting an influx of newly insured patients and is taking steps to make care more affordable by cutting costs in urgent-care centers and freestanding EDs, CEO Trevor Fetter told CNBC.

"It's a very hard thing to educate the patients that they ought to go to a physician or try to make an appointment if they're experiencing emergency conditions," Fetter said. "They're going to go to an urgent care, an emergency department, or a hospital. Our job is to be ready for them and to provide the service at a more affordable cost. I think that's part of the challenge for the future."

While it's true that educating newly insured patients about the proper access point will be difficult, hospital marketers must help answer the challenge. Rather than highlighting ED wait times, can marketing tactics help keep non-emergent patients out of the ED?

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2 comments on "Should ED Wait Time Billboards Go Blank?"


Eva Francis (1/17/2014 at 12:47 AM)
Excellent article

Stephen Moegling (1/15/2014 at 3:27 PM)
Provocative article! Healthcare seems to have its feet in different worlds [INVALID] one foot in the "old" way of driving revenue (fee for service) and the other foot in the "new" way of being reimbursed based on keeping patients well and out of the hospital (and ER). Thanks for the article. Thoroughly enjoyed.