Current ER Wait Times For Skyline Medical Center Posted On A Billboard In Nashville TN – Will This Help?


I saw this sign a few days ago and it caught my attention. The sign tells you how long the ER wait time is at Skyline Medical Center in Nashville TN (click on the link to see their current wait times on their website). The basic idea is that every 4 hours the ER wait time is updated and their goal is to communicated to the public how “well” they are doing. They are shooting for a time less than 30 minutes but that time is measured from entry to greeting. By putting the times out to the public the Hospital hopes to increase visibility to the process and hopefully keep improving.

I applaud Skyline Medical Center in Nashville Tn for the effort but there are good, bad, and ugly qualities about the sign.

Good
-Visibility to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville TN
-Visibility on the door to greet time
-Effort is being made to improve the processes around customer care

Bad
-The focus is only on door to greet time. I have no idea how long it will take me to get through the entire process on average
-Since Skyline Medical Center is publicly being measured around the door to greet time that is what they will focus on improving. Risks are high that there will be workarounds just to bring the door to greet time down.
-I have no idea what they are going to be doing to get me treated faster or even if they will treat me faster. Wait time doesn’t include potential wait time to see a doctor or specialist.

Ugly
-They maybe fast but I really don’t know if they will fix my problem. Going to the ER I would care about 2 things: 1) speed 2) fixing my problem. The sign puts complete emphasis on speed but I haven’t seen anything about quality yet.
-The 4 hour window tells me nothing about current conditions. Decisions about which ER to go to are probably not going to be made while driving to the ER so a 4 hour window is appropriate as an information sign and not a decision making tool.
-I’ve driven by the sign twice and both times the wait time was at or above their goal time of 30 minutes (first time: 30 minutes second time: 45 minutes).

Will Skyline Medical Center continue to improve their operations past the door to greet time or will they do what many companies do if it doesn’t work and just give up? Or worse will they see slight improvement and not keep improving? I do not know their operations plan but it will be interesting to see where Skyline Medical Center and other medical centers, hospitals, and private practices in Nashville Tennessee will do in light of the billboard.

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Resources:
WKRN News article

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