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San Jose Hospitals Offer ER Wait Times via Text Message First in Northern California

SAN JOSE, CA (09-22-10)—Two San Jose hospitals are the first in northern California to make their average ER wait times available to the public via text and the web. The wait time program will help area residents determine the shortest wait times at local emergency facilities.

By texting "ER" to 23000* from a cell phone and replying with zip code, users receive average wait times at Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center of San Jose.

The wait times are also posted on both hospitals’ websites.

The text message program works using a technology that links computer systems in the ER with the texting abilities of cell phones. Using this system, texters can see exactly how long recent patients have waited to be seen by a physician or associated provider.

The wait time displayed reflects the elapsed time from patient arrival in the ER to being seen by an ER provider in the previous four hours. Wait times are updated every 30 minutes.

The wait time text also gives users a toll-free number to call to speak with a nurse.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the average "door to doc" ER wait time nationally was 58 minutes in 2009.

Mike T. Johnson, CEO of Regional, said, "When patients are hurting, they want to be seen fast. Sometimes the closest ER isn’t the quickest ER. This information gives patients more information about the destination they choose when they need an ER."

"Serious injuries, heart attack, stroke symptoms—those patients should always call 9-1-1 immediately," said Richard Newell MD, Good Sam’s ER Medical Director. "But for weekend warrior conditions and many of life’s lesser injuries and illnesses, having this information can mean making the choice to drive a little farther to be seen a little—or a lot—faster."

*Message and data rates may apply. For more info visit

About Regional Medical Center of San Jose

Regional Medical Center of San Jose is a Level II Trauma Center. The hospital provides a host of services including Cardiovascular, Orthopedic and General Surgery, along with multi-organ Cancer Care, and services for Women and Children. Regional Medical Center of San Jose holds Joint Commission advanced certification as a Primary Stroke Center and a Get with the Guidelines- Stroke Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. It is a certified Chest Pain Center, and county-designated STEMI receiving center. For more information, visit:

About Good Samaritan Hospita

Good Samaritan Hospital is recognized regionally for acute and tertiary services, including cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, oncology, obstetrics and gynecology, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, behavioral health and specialized surgery, including minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery. Good Sam is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center, certified Chest Pain Center, county-designated STEMI receiving center and accredited Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. It consistently receives the American College of Surgeons Outstanding Achievement Award for cancer care. For more information, visit

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