ER at Merit Health Wesley offering online check-in

(The following is a press release submitted from Merit Health Wesley to WDAM 7.)

Hattiesburg, MS – If you're going to the emergency department at Merit Health Wesley —but it's not for a life-threatening emergency—you may want to access a new service called 'Online Check-in' before reaching for your car keys.

Launched November 10, the service is intended to enhance individuals' overall experience at the ER by giving them more control of the check-in process.

"Online Check-in is for individuals whose injuries and illnesses are not life-threatening or debilitating," said Dixie Norris, Director of Emergency Services. "If the ER receives a large number of critical emergencies, then those with less-critical needs may encounter a wait. Online Check-in helps you know what to expect and offers you the flexibility of waiting at home, if needed."

Here's how Online Check-in works:

1. Visit and click on 'Online Check-in'.

2. Choose a projected treatment time based on current wait time, and complete a brief and simple online form.

3. Wait at home until closer to your projected treatment time. (ER staff will review your information, and let you know if you should come in sooner than planned.)

4. When you arrive at the ER, staff will be expecting you, and strive to see you within 15 minutes of the time specified.

5. If there is a spike in patient traffic at the ER, staff will notify you via email or automated phone call with a new projected treatment time.

Because Online Check-in also provides ER staff with advance notice of who's coming in, and why, it helps to streamline patient flow—making the entire process more efficient.

"In August, we implemented a 30-Minutes-Or-Less ER Service Pledge that helped expedite patient access to care," said Norris. "Our new Online Check-in feature simply adds another layer of convenience."

"This service can be really helpful for a parent with a small child, or for someone who is bringing in an elderly relative who is concerned about exposure to germs and viruses in the waiting room," said Norris. "We expect this service to be especially popular during flu season or when there is a high incidence of contagious viruses."

Individuals who use Online Check-in aren't seen ahead of patients who are already in the waiting room; rather, their names are added to the treatment list according to the time they checked-in online.  Unless an individual's illness or injury requires expedited care, patients are treated in the order they registered.

Online Check-in does not allow patients whose symptoms indicate a life-threatening or debilitating medical condition to use the service; key words such as "chest pain" trigger a directive to call 911 or to go to the nearest emergency department immediately.