Quicker Care: New SSM Health Care Service Helps Patients Avoid ER Waiting Room
Online registering helps some patients in Lake Saint Louis and other metro St. Louis communities get treatment faster, with a personal touch.
Long waits and emergency rooms are almost synonymous. Now SSM Health Care is trying to do away with delays in emergency care with a new service called InQuicker.
“While this service is not meant to eliminate waiting times, it will give people a more convenient option when needing treatment,” said Sean Hogan, president of SSM Ambulatory Services, in a news release.
Patients with minor emergencies can wait at home instead of the ER by registering online.
Five SSM Emergency Departments now provide this service:
- SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights
- SSM St. Clare Health Center in Fenton
- SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton
- SSM St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles
- SSM St. Joseph Hospital West in Lake Saint Louis
The free InQuicker service has been available at those locations since November, said Kristen Johnson, a media relations specialist for SSM Health Care.
“We rolled it out formally on Dec. 26,” she said.
SSM Health Care's Network Director for Access/Outreach Tina Lybarger said the service is for minor injuries or ailments.
“The nurses triage the patients,” Lybarger explained. “They make sure the symptoms aren’t serious. They’re able to comfort them. They call back every hour to check and see if their symptoms have changed. They even tell them the name of the nurse who will greet them when they come to the ER, so they can ask for that nurse by name.”
The InQuicker system is offered by 112 health care systems nationwide, but Lybarger said SSM Health Care is the only one with a registered nurse call patients to talk about their symptoms.
Insurance information and other paperwork is already taken care of. ER staff can keep rooms available, schedule X-rays and make other arrangements.
“So far, we’ve served 135 patients with InQuicker, and we’ve gotten wonderful comments back,” Lybarger said. “It felt more comfortable for the patient, knowing who to ask for when they get there. That nurse already knows their symptoms, their medications and other critical information.”
How InQuicker works
- Go to www.ssmhealth.com/er
- Choose your nearest SSM hospital
- Select a projected treatment time
- Fill out a form
- Go to the hospital at the appointed time
“I am confident this service will enhance the patients’ experience with our ERs and will give patients a reason to choose us when they need emergency care,” Hogan said.