Some hospitals offering online appointment booking for the ER

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - If you've ever been to the emergency room, you know how long the wait can be.

Now some hospitals are letting patients book ER appointments online through web sites like, allowing them to skip the long wait.

These online booking sites basically hold a patient's place in line at the ER for a small fee. The web site  calculates the waiting time for patients who don't have life-threatening emergencies.

Some people who have used the service said they were seen by a nurse in less than an hour.

Some doctors love the idea, because patients aren't waiting in the ER. They're waiting at home, which cuts down on the spread of infectious diseases.

However, opponents claim people who don't have life-threatening injuries or illnesses shouldn't be using the ER in the first place.

Supporters argue, often times the ER is the only facility open. Most ER's experience peak hours between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Right now several hospitals in eight states are trying online appointment booking.

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