National Post | News

Patients who log on to the website for Calgary’s hospitals are offered a surprising choice these days: wait times for four emergency departments across the city, posted automatically, 24/7 in “real time.”

A hospital in the Southern Ontario city of Kitchener has just become the first in that province to launch its own, enhanced version of the same idea, amid predictions the consumer-oriented service will soon spread throughout the health-care system. A smartphone app for the Kitchener facility is coming soon.

Administrators argue the online information should help patients better decide where to seek out medical aid, spur staff to improve service — and one day even fuel competition between hospitals under new, demand-based funding models.

“Having our wait times out there, warts and all, is certainly a motivator,” said Don Shilton, president of St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener. “What we’re trying to do is to inform consumers. ……

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