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Hospital of Central Connecticut first in state to offer ER wait times via text

[March 15 2011] - The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HCC) is the first in the state to launch a new service that allows people to text from their cell phones for emergency room wait times.

Central Connecticut residents can learn expected wait times at the hospital’s New Britain General campus and Bradley Memorial campus in Southington by texting their zip codes to 4ER411 (437411). Wait times for both campuses are delivered instantly. A smart phone is not required; any cell phone with basic texting capability will work.

The service works for most zip codes in New Britain, Plainville, Berlin, Southington, Bristol, Cheshire, Cromwell, Farmington, Meriden, Burlington, Newington and West Hartford.

“Of course, in a life-threatening emergency, people should dial 911, but for less-urgent situations, people can often choose where they’ll go for care,” says Jeffrey Finkelstein, M.D., HCC’s chief of Emergency Medicine. “With this new texting service, they’ll instantly get wait times for both HCC campuses that can help them make that choice. And, by saving 437411 as a contact in their cell phones, people can get the wait times information even faster.”

Texting is one of three ways people can get information on HCC ER wait times. In 2009, the hospital began posting wait times in the ER waiting rooms and on HCC’s website, www.thocc.org . In February 2010 HCC launched a wait times iPhone™ app: centralCT ER. The app also shows maps and directions to both campuses and emergency room phone numbers.