Patients needing emergency care at Newton-Wellesley Hospital now have an easy way to find out how long the ER wait is- before they actually get there. The Hospital is introducing three new innovative tools for its patients: an Emergency Room (ER) wait time display on the Newton-Wellesley website, a Hospital iPhone application available on iTunes for download and a mobile version of the website available for many smartphones.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital has already begun displaying the current average ER wait times on the hospital’s website, The ER wait time is automatically updated every five minutes and represents the average time it takes for a patient to be placed into a treatment room to be seen by the ER practitioner on duty. Patients are triaged on arrival by a registered nurse and are then seen by an emergency medicine provider based on severity. Those determined to require immediate attention will go directly to a room. The service is meant for patients with urgent complaints, but not for those with life-threatening emergencies.

“We are happy to be able to offer our patients the tools they need to access important health information fast,” said Mark Lemons, MD, Chair, Emergency Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital. “Our patient population is technologically savvy, so we thought this would be quite beneficial to them in our continuous effort to provide high quality care.”

At the end of October the Hospital  rolled out its new iPhone application that will feature ER wait times, a pre-registration function, maps and directions, general information about Newton-Wellesley Hospital and more. In addition to the “app,” many smart phone users will have access to a new mobile version of for easier site navigation.

According to industry experts, there is definitely an advantage to publishing ER wait times “live” versus a texting service. “Not everyone has texting capabilities and even if they do, they have to remember the text number or look it up, which wastes valuable time,” said Sandra Fancher, Vice President of Client Strategy at MedTouch. “Utilizing a mobile app also allows patients to obtain other useful information – not just ER wait times.”

Newton-Wellesley Hospital is a full system member of Partners HealthCare System, Inc. PHCS), a nonprofit organization that includes acute care hospitals Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s/Faulkner Hospitals, The North Shore Medical Center, and specialty hospitals McLean Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, and the community-based doctors and hospitals of Partners Community HealthCare, Inc.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital provides a wide range of services, including medical, surgical, obstetrical, orthopaedic, neonatal, pediatric, emergency and psychiatric care. Newton-Wellesley has been serving its community for over a century. The medical staff of the Hospital includes nearly 1,000 physicians practicing a full range of specialties. NWH is a major teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine and also has established post-graduate training programs for Harvard Medical School residents.

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