Go With The Flow: Setting Up Vaccine Clinic Stations
When looking to increase efficiency in any task, standard logic is to lean towards as few steps as possible. Vaccination clinics, believe it or not, go against that logic, according to practices with a track record of successful clinics.
Their recommendation: Break the patient journey into discrete “stations.” Organizing a clinic around small tasks works on two levels: Spacing out the work helps prevent bottlenecks in the many steps involved in delivering a vaccine, from check-in paperwork to scheduling any follow-ups, it also has the convenient effect of helping patients feel as if they are continually making progress, rather than just “waiting in line.” Both result in less stress for staff and patients (always a good thing!).
This approach was developed for traditional flu vaccine clinics but has proven to be a nimble model, easily adapting to meet the social-distancing demands of today’s COVID-19 concerns.
Regardless of the size of your clinic or the location of your vaccination event (on-site, off-site, etc.), the general stations and roles remain the same. Here are the key stations to consider in your vaccination clinic flow:
- Arrival: Greet patients, give them a quick overview of what to expect, answer any questions, and steer them towards the first station
- Waiting Area: Patients will need an area to wait before starting the vaccination process; consider how you will prioritize them or organize them by appointment time
- Eligibility Screening/Check-in: Confirm a patient’s eligibility and check them in
- Payment: Collect payment or insurance information (if applicable)
- Medical Screening/Consent: Screen patients and prep them on what will be taking place during their vaccination
- Vaccination: Administer vaccine
- Post-Vaccination: Depending on the vaccine requirements, provide a vaccination waiting and observation area
- Checkout Paperwork/Vaccination Card: Provide patients with vaccination confirmation, paperwork, and, if necessary, a follow-up appointment
- Exit: Consider using a one-way flow with different entry/exit points for patients
Outlining the flow of your vaccination clinic in advance will help both your staff and patients better understand what is expected of them. Patients can become easily lost or disoriented in large or even midsize clinics, so be sure to provide clear and highly visible signage and directions. Err on the side of over-communicating directions and expectations—your patients (and staff) will greatly appreciate knowing the next step in their clinic journey.
Vaccination Clinic Tips for Practices of All Sizes
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