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Cambridge Health Alliance Posts Emergency Wait Times Online
Posted Date: 2/18/2011

Cambridge, MA...Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a Harvard-affiliated public healthcare system, has introduced new tools to alert patients to the wait times prior to arrival at the emergency departments at CHA's Cambridge, Somerville, and Whidden Hospital campuses. Average wait times are posted on CHA's website,, and are also made available by texting "ertime" to 41411.

While CHA operates one of the state's largest emergency departments, with approximately 100,000 visits each year, patients are typically able to begin receiving care within five minutes of arrival. The wait times reflect the average time it takes for a patient to be placed into a treatment room to be seen by a qualified health care professional.

CHA has made tremendous advancements in the emergency departments at all three of its hospital campuses, improving patient flow through a streamlined admissions process and an investment in state-of-the-art technology that monitors the status of every emergency patient in real-time. Enhanced efficiency and patient satisfaction are reflected in CHA's consistent ranking among the top hospitals in the state on all publicly reported quality measures.

"People may expect long waits when they have an emergency, but there is no need for it," said Assaad Sayah, MD, CHA's Chief of Emergency Medicine. "Through careful analysis, planning, and operational changes, we have actually been able to solve the problem of emergency wait times."

In addition to the new texting option and the online wait times display, CHA has unveiled a new ad campaign to raise awareness of the fast, high-quality service provided in its three emergency departments. Billboards are in place on several local highways, posters appear in numerous subway stations, subway cars, and buses, and online and radio ads are running regularly


Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.