Ask the Board – April 25, 2016 | PATRICIA MITRANO


When thinking about advertising campaigns or other uses of digital signage in circulation, what is the first piece that comes to mind and why?

There are digital billboard campaigns, which advertise hospital emergency room wait times. These generate questions like, “How can wait times be so short?” “How are they determined?” and “Do they apply to every single patient?”

These ads do not include measurement process definitions that specify “From time of arrival to being seen and evaluated.” or “From time of arrive to being diagnosed and discharged or admitted.” Neither do they define the triage process of deciding which patients should be treated first based on how sick or seriously injured they are.

When presenting wait times measured in minutes, the ads create the perception of organizational efficiency, which is great for the brand, but caution is advised as “advertising wait times may encourage patients to self-triage in a dangerous way.”*

Technology that offers queuing services as suggested by these campaigns can be a game changer if it truly takes into account the variables that are present in the emergency room environment.

*This quote is from the article referenced at:
Advertising Emergency Department Wait Times
Scott G. Weiner, MD, MPH
Weiner, S. G. (2013).
Advertising Emergency Department Wait Times. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 14(2), 77–78.

About Author

Director of Visual Communications
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

End User Council

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