Waiting game? There’s an app for that

Published 1:07 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today, we play the waiting game.

We wait for our name to be called by the registration desk. Once that’s finished, then it’s a wait for the surgery prep nurse to show us to our room. After that, it’s a wait for the nurse to come back for medical history. About four hours of all that, the wait begins for the call from the operating room. Finally, the big wait begins for the news my girl is in the recovery room.

It’s an all too familiar process for us, as we’re no strangers to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. I used to joke that I should have my own parking spot. Thankfully, that’s changed. Our visits now are more spaced out than in years before.

But today, we’re back for one more step in our healing process by getting some nasal stints, armed with a new tool.

In December, Children’s announced they were keeping up with the technical times – launching an app that would allow families to track their loved one’s progress from smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.

Children’s new app – which can be downloaded for free at www.surgerycares.com – offers that same real-time information, but sends the information to the user’s smartphone or tablet, which allows the user to leave the lobby area if desired.

The worst thing about the process before was that a parent had to remain in the waiting room at all times. In the past, parents had to rely on verbal updates from those staffing waiting room areas.

For a single parent like myself, that meant being confined to the room – only escaping for food if you could grab a nurse and tell her where you were going.

That’s not the case now, thank goodness.

Through a simple three-step process, parents can access the same information that’s on those screens while they wait elsewhere on campus, get a cup of coffee or eat a meal.

That is music to my stomach!

Hospital officials said parents can also share their children’s identification numbers and the website with others not at the hospital. Extended family or friends can then track their loved ones’ progress through their electronic devices, even if they are out of state.

The application was piloted earlier in 2012, is now in full use and is credited to August’s opening of the $400 million Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children expansion and an increased emphasis on improving the patient families’ healthcare experience.

And this mom thinks it was a scrumptious idea!