Hospitals ER's now taking appointments - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hospitals ER's now taking appointments

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Patients can now make an appointment for emergency care. (Source: CNN) Patients can now make an appointment for emergency care. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - Hospitals around the country are hoping online emergency room appointments will help attract patients anxious to avoid long waits in a crowded and often chaotic environment.

The system is intended only for patients who don't have life-threatening or debilitating emergencies.

To check in online, patients must explain the reason for their visit and check a box saying that they can wait for treatment.

Patients having chest pain or trouble breathing are instructed to call 911 or go directly to an emergency room.

Those with an ankle sprain or a fever might be able to make an appointment.

Some critics say the online check-in system may be convenient but is not necessarily cost-effective.

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