Emergency Q app hopes to reduce hospital emergency department wait times

Most people will have experienced an excruciatingly long wait at an emergency department - but a new app is hoping to change that.

The Emergency Q app helps patients decide if they should see a GP instead.

"It'll show you on the map, where your local, or your closest hospital is and the wait or journey time for that hospital and the closest A&E clinic," operations manager Bill Maloney says.

It's already been tested at North Shore Hospital's ED, and has reduced patient volumes by 12 percent. All you've got to do is answer questions about your condition.

"It's great from the point of view of the patient because they save a lot of time. On average they'll spend four hours more for a non-emergency condition such as earache in the hospital emergency room," chief executive and founder Morris Pita says.

Mr Pita says he was inspired after ordering a pizza one weekend. His order's information was in the palm of his hand - but when he took his son to an emergency department the following weekend, there was no information.

"It was an information blackout. They didn't tell us if we were in the right place for his particular medical problem, they didn't tell us how long it would take until we got to go home. That's what we're trying to do with Emergency Q."

They didn't expect to win Race for Space on Monday but said the prize of having a rent-free office in the newly built B:HIVE at Smales Farm comes at the right time.

"There's no way we could carry on using our $48 fold out table for meetings. We really did need to get into a new environment."

Emergency Q will be rolled out at Middlemore Hospital in June.