AUSTIN (KXAN) - It sounded strange when the new program was first rolled out.
But now one year has passed since Seton hospitals started offering patients the option of checking into their emergency rooms online.
The new technology is becoming more popular with patients.
It drastically cut down the wait time for Marisa Caballero, 18. About month ago she woke up in the middle of the night with intense pain from a urinary tract infection.
"I told her, it's two o'clock in the morning. We need to call your doctor," said Hilda Caballero, Marisa's mother.
The doctor told her to take Marisa to the emergency room.
"The doctor on-call gave me a website and said make an appointment," said Hilda. "And I said 'at the emergency room?"'
She went to SetonER.com for the first time, filled out a form a selected a check-in time.
When they pulled up to Seton Southwest, Marisa was seen before others already sitting in the waiting room.
The entire visit lasted just 20 minutes from the time they stepped foot in the door.
"The doctor came in and talked to [Marisa], gave her a prescription and we were gone. I came home and put her to bed, and that was it," said Hilda.
The new system is slowly changing the bad rap emergency rooms get.
"The patients love it," said Mary Faria, Chief Operating Officer and Administrator of Seton Southwest. "It's that convenience factor and that factor of having some control."
The program is also offering relief for doctors and nurses.
"We don't know how many people are going to come in the door at any given time. There's now a way to predict that," said Faria.
Over the last year, 183 patients at Seton Southwest have avoided the wait by checking in on the web.
It is getting more popular each month at all eight Seton emergency rooms. Nearly 100 people used it in July of 2011 which was the first month it was offered. In July 2012, 363 patients used it.
Checking in online is not the answer for every medical situation even if a patients tries to book an appointment.
"If what you've described tells the program that your condition really doesn't warrant waiting, the program will say call 911," said Faria.
In addition to that, a real nurse reads the forms as soon as they are submitted and will call patients who need to come in immediately.
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