MedWaitTime: Like checking on a flight status

By Brian Dolan
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MedWaitTime, a new Web and mobile service launched in Chicago last week, aims to help patients determine if their doctor is running late for an appointment. Soon it will include emergency wait room times, too. Dr. Vishal Mehta, an orthopedic surgeon, launched the service with 10 Chicago-area doctors, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Mehta founded Medical Wait Time with two partners. The group has spent more than $200,000 on developing and testing the service and they plan to charge $50 a month per doctor and $300 a month for each hospital department.

Patients can get an update via text message currently, but Mehta is planning an iPhone app launch soon, too.

"Patients will say they ran every yellow light on the way there [to the office], then they sat and waited," said Dr. Mehta. "Medicine is now a service industry and we have to keep our patients happy."

Andrew Wilper, a physician at the University of Washington School of Medicine who researches wait times, said that reducing patients wait times via technology is "reasonable' but doesn't solve the underlying problems of the resource constrained system.

For more, read the WSJ report here