Hospital ER uses text messages to tell patient wait times

California - (NBC) - If you've ever been to a hospital emergency room, you know the wait to see a doctor can be hours - the national average wait time exceeds 4 hours. Now a California hospital is using text messaging to minimize that wait.

Riverside Community Hospital has been using what it calls the "Know Before You Go" text system. Patients send a text to the system and it responds with an estimated wait time.

Hospital administrators say the system not only cuts a person's wait time once they arrive at the ER, it also helps the hospital design ways to become more efficient.

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