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The premier resource for hospital professionals from Relias Media, the trusted source for healthcare information and continuing education.

How Smart is Your Smartphone? Hospital Puts It to Use

Joy Daughtery Dickinson is executive editor of the Hospital Group of publications at AHC Media in Atlanta and long-time editor and writer of Same-Day Surgery. She has won nine national awards from the Specialized Information Publishers Association and the Association of Business Information & Media Companies for her blogging, news writing, and editing. She makes her home in southwest Georgia.

“I want to jump off a bridge and die.”

When Apple device users used to share this information with their voice helper, they were given directions to the closest bridge. No more. Now Apple users are given the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Unfortunately, smartphone voice assistants aren’t so useful for most medical emergencies, according to a recent story from The Associated Press. It reports that when users told their smartphones, “I was raped,” only one voice assistant (Cortana) provided a sexual assault number.

Fortunately, there are some great uses for smartphones, particularly for those who work in healthcare. Our Hospital Peer Review publication recently profiled Renown Health in Reno, NV. The health system has updated its web page so that people who need to go to urgent care can compare wait times at the different facilities. No more long waits in rooms full of sick people. In fact, they can “get in line” virtually and be notified when their names are about to be called.

That’s not all the hospital does. Patients can use a mobile app to do the following:

• Make doctor’s appointments or appointments for imaging or lab services.

• Access a call line to a cancer patient support network.

• Access medical facts for issues ranging from stroke to healthcare reform.

The result? Satisfaction scores for wait times have jumped from the 30th percentile to the 80th percentile, consistently, in Press Ganey surveys. Now that’s what we call smart. (To keep up with hospital-related breaking news as it happens, follow us on Twitter @HospitalReport.)