TECHNOLOGY: Text alert system lets patients skip the waiting room for their doctor and urgent care visits

By Deanna Pogorelc

1287062_businessman_in_the_office_2JULY 29, 2013 – There are few worse places to wait in line than in a doctor’s office or urgent care clinic, surrounded by coughers and sneezers and nose-blowers.

That’s why QLess, a tech company that works with service providers to manage their waiting lines virtually, is ramping up its efforts in the healthcare industry. Since the average patient waits about 20 minutes in a doctor’s office waiting room, it seems like a likely fit.

Providers run QLess on a computer or kiosk set up in the waiting room. Patients secure their place in line by entering their cell phone numbers into the system upon arrival and choosing what kind of mobile alerts they’d like to receive. QLess tells them how long the wait is and pushes periodic updates of wait times to the patient, including a final notification when it’s almost their turn. If users need more time, they can push back their place in line.

Software and internet entrepreneur Alex Backer founded QLess back in 2007, after a long wait in line triggered him to think there had to be a better way. He formed the company with the idea that it would be used in restaurants, theme parks and voting stations. But it’s naturally grown into healthcare, too, in urgent care centers and doctor’s offices.

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