With one of the shortest wait times in San Diego County, Alvarado Hospital launched a campaign to raise public awareness about where to go if you want treatment quickly. A two-pronged campaign, the hospital was the first in San Diego to post its wait times on the free
smart phone app called iTriage and the hospital simultaneously launched a billboard campaign on the I-8 corridor near the hospital.
"The community may not be aware that our average wait time is 38 minutes compared with neighboring hospitals with average wait times of often four to six hours," said Dr. Kevin Kelly, medical director of the emergency department. "We have put many efficiencies in place to ensure the fastest service is available to those who need emergency care."
"The iTriage app has been very successful," said Laura Gilbert, marketing director at Alvarado Hospital. "Alvarado Hospital's app has been the most searched-for hospital app on iTriage with more than 1,000 views in the first three months. The ER experienced its busiest day about two weeks into the campaign."
To support the smart phone app, the hospital posted its ER wait times and an iTriage-supported symptom checker on its Web site. In addition, several media stories about the app and the wait times also supported the awareness campaign.
In June 2010, the hospital also launched a billboard campaign on the heavily trafficked I-8 freeway near the Waring Road exit heading east. The billboard (pictured above) touted the hospital's fast wait times and promoted the iTriage app as well. The billboard featured three of the hospital's ER physicians.
“The ER campaign was successful both in terms of the billboard and the smart phone users accessing Alvarado Hospital's posted wait times, as well as those who accessed our wait times from their computers,” added Gilbert. “We were focused on the smart phone user, so the increased Web site traffic was an added bonus.”
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