If you drive around New Orleans, you have probably noticed a billboard for Oschner’s new ER website section included estimated waiting times – http://www.ochsner.org/now. Some of the billboards are strategically placed near competitors like on the elevated West Bank Expressway near West Jeff Hospital.
In my eyes as a consumer and a marketer, this is a waste. Don’t get me wrong, the website section for the Emergency Rooms is great and they have emergency guides & wallet cards to be prepared. They are also advertising in the proximity is great knowledge when an emergency arises, but I would never go online to check the wait time at an emergency room before coming in. If I need an Emergency Room than it is an emergency and you go to the closet hospital possible without any doubt.
I know Emergency Rooms have been full of non-emergencies and in the New Orleans, the poor because the lack of public hospitals so maybe this campaign is to target those individuals. I have historically heard hospital administrators complain about their ERs being clogged with non-emergencies so why advertise to fill them?
When researching this blog post, I checked the wait times at various times of the day and sometimes each hospital was listed at 0 minutes making me think it did not work. Another time I checked, three of the wait times were over 2 hours. Why advertise this?
In the end, I do not see an reason to advertise the waiting times of Emergency Rooms especially when they can be over 2 hours.