Curbside Queuing - Overview


  • How it works (sample workflow)

  • Curbside codes and short numbers

  • Live demo (you can try it anytime)

  • Best practices

  • Assisting Patients

  • FAQs

Once you've read this article, we next recommend: Curbside Queuing Collateral Examples

How it works

Curbside queuing starts by patients texting a unique phrase to (we call it a 'curbside code') to a dedicated phone number.   

Typically, the practice has prominent signs in the parking lot, postcards to hand to patients at the door, and screeners/greeters to explain the process to patients.

See collateral and signage examples here: Curbside Queuing Collateral Examples

A sample workflow

    1. Patient texts the curbside code to a short number.
    2. The system auto responds with short instructions and with a secure link.
    3. The patient clicks on the link and fills in the sign-in form (name, DOB, chief complaint, etc.).
    4. The system places the patient in order of arrival on the Patient Queue for your staff to see, OR, if you have integrated our system with your practice management/EMR, automatically writes the patient into the PM/EMR calendar.
    5. Customizable workflow triggers in the Patient Queue send patients a text when the staff are ready to bring them into the lobby.

Curbside codes and short numbers

  • Each customer has its own set of curbside codes (for example, Westwood Urgent Care's is "Westwood"). 
  • For multi-campus customers, we set up a single code, and once patients click on the link, they choose their location from a list of short (aka "friendly") names.
  • Patients will text a five-digit "short number" - ER Express will provide this number for you.  Short numbers are designed for high-volume business use and have high (99%) deliverability rates. 
  • Normal ten-digit numbers are designed for personal use, and carriers will treat businesses who use them to send text messages as spam.
  • Read more about short numbers vs. long numbers here.

Demo - Try it now!

Want to see how it works? Text "Westwood" to 34947



Best practices - for safety AND patient acquisition

  • Curbside queuing promotes safety for both patients and staff and makes it easy to sign in from their carb or the curb.
  • Additionally, astute health systems and clinics use it to attract patients by educating patients about this process BEFORE they arrive. 
  • It can reassure patients that they will minimize the time they spend in the lobby and can persuade them to choose your practice over a competitor's.

Assisting Patients

  • 80-90% of patients will follow the instructions without problems.
  • Some patients do arrive without a phone or with a flip phone, or just do not want to use their phone.
  • We recommend having the staff sign in the patient - some practices will have their greeters/screeners do it.
  • The ER Express Patient Queue has an "Easy Add" button for staff to sign-in patients directly from the queue

Click on the blue circle in the top right



...Which pops open the sign-in form




  1. Our patient population is not tech-savvy.  Will they do it?  Yes.  We have customers in all settings, with patients at all age levels using it.  80-90% of patients will text without any problem.
  2. What if the patient cannot (or does not want to) text?  Our system comes with an 'Easy Add' button that allows staff to add patients directly to the queue.
  3. Is texting secure?  I thought we should not use texting for PHI.  No PHI is transmitted via text message.  When patients text the curbside code, our system sends an automated message with a link that opens a secure, HIPAA-compliant browser session for patient to use for their sign-in.
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