Now, one hospital in New Jersey is trying to cut down on that wait time by allowing patients to make a reservation online.
On top of the homepage for Jersey City Medical Center , you can click on the button to skip the wait and schedule your emergency room visit.
Nurse Manager, Michelle Lopez says the staff is immediately alerted online and on their blackberries.
Jersey City Medical Center"On the website we'll be able to see what their medical issue and how they described it to us we can also see the time they asked for," Lopez said.
The nurse in charge enters your appointment and calls you if there's a question or concern.
When you arrive, you skip the waiting room and go straight in.
Natalie Edwards tried the technology two weeks ago. It was a Sunday morning and she had back pain that turned out to be a kidney stone.
"I was immediately seen by a triage nurse who took my vitals and put in a bed," Edwards laughed.
But the online emergency room appointments are only for non-emergency problems.
"The system is designed for patients with minor illnesses such as sore throat, ear aches, lacerations, minor musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains or strains," Lopez said.
The system is designed so if you type in certain words like chest pain, difficulty breathing or slurred speech, it won't even let you make an appointment.
Instead it'll tell you to go to the ER now or call 911. If you don't have a true emergency, the emergency room is still not the best place to go since it's expensive. But if you don't have a doctor or it's after hours, a local urgent care center is a better option.
It's usually cheaper than the emergency room. They have that option for an urgent care center in Hoboken as well.
To make an appointment, click here: LINK: SKIP THE WAIT
Get Eyewitness News Delivered