By Brandy C. Ostanik
Getting immunizations at Bassett Army Community Hospital became easier for beneficiaries in March with some process improvements put into place through between the immunizations clinic and pediatrics department.
The first change implemented asks beneficiaries to check in with a medical support assistant at any of the open check-in windows found in the primary care reception area. While the clinic is still open on a walk-in basis and appointments are not needed, the new process takes place of an outdated ‘pull a number’ system which has been in place since Bassett ACH opened in 2007.
“By listening to our patients and hearing the struggles of our staff, we knew the number pulling system was not working,” said Maj. Brandi Lange, clinical nurse officer in charge of primary care at Bassett ACH.
The biggest issue alleviated was the inability for the system to alert an immunizations staff member when a patient was waiting. By checking in with a medical support assistant upon their arrival, the immunizations clinic is alerted immediately.
“Not only does the immunizations staff get alerted immediately when a patient is waiting, but they also receive a note letting them know what service the patient needs, which allows them to prepare more efficiently,” said Lange.
A bigger, lengthier process improvement project now allows patients to receive their immunizations within the pediatrics department during their well-baby or well-child visit, as opposed to being sent from their appointment to wait at the immunizations clinic.
“We have a nurse dedicated to working immunizations within the pediatrics department,” said Lange. “This keeps our patients from leaving an appointment, and waiting in line to receive immunizations through the immunizations department.”
Lange says that while the changes have been a welcome improvement for the staff in both the pediatrics and immunizations, the changes were really all about listening to the feedback from patients.
“We were receiving comments from parents who were frustrated with the systems we had in place,” said Lange. “Taking a look at those processes and finding out the best way to make improvements while ensuring the safety of patients made sense for everyone.”
Three weeks into the changes the feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We loved being able to do vaccines in the appointment room,” said one parent in an Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) comment. “It made it so much easier for me and my baby.”