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Story from the Field

Name of Health Department/Agency: Independence Health Department
State: MO
Date Added: 11/10/2009
Themes: Vaccine Planning and Administration
Issue Summary: Creative time card system reduces wait time at mass vaccination clinic
Description of Issue(s): Below is our experience with mass vaccination of H1N1 and how we reduced patient waiting time to receive vaccine.
Actions taken to address the issue(s): The night of October 15, 2009 the Independence Health Department held its second H1N1 clinic.? After a not so hurried clinic the week before, the staff was taken back by the line that started to form hours before the clinic opened.? Come time for opening, the line was winding through the hall, out the front door, down the sidewalk, all the way down the street.? People waited for hours in chilly blustery weather for their vaccination.? The next day a local newspaper ran a comic describing the long lines.? A doctor and nurse are in the forefront with coughing, sneezing, shivering people in the background.
?I?ve never seen such a spike in pneumonia cases,? exclaims the doctor.
?It?s from standing in the outdoors for hours to get a free flu shot,? explains the nurse.

To our knowledge no one actually fell ill but it was obvious that we needed to adapt to our larger crowd size.? ? Based off our busy clinic, we knew that the maximum amount of people we could shuffle through the clinic was about 700.? Our director, Larry Jones, came up with a creative time card system that would cut waiting time significantly.? He figured that meant we could handle about 80 people every half hour.? We designed, printed, and cut out hundreds of little cards with a timeslot for that person to return for their vaccine.? We started handing the cards out three hours before the clinic.? Then the individual would return at their designated time.? Since we had about 80 people coming through every half hour, their waiting time was reduced to less than thirty minutes!?
Outcomes that resulted from actions taken: The first clinic we ran this way was very successful.? We did not have to worry about running out of our vaccine because we planned before hand the number of cards we could give out based on our vaccine supply.? People in the waiting room actually complimented us on our efficiency saying, ?it was a very easy process,? and ?it went a lot faster than I expected.?? If you have ever worked with people in a waiting room, you know this is a strange thing to hear.? We addressed our overflow issue by offering anyone past the first 700 (the number we had cards for) first chance at a card reserving their spot in next week?s clinic.? An editorial the day after our first ?timecard clinic? praised the new system.? It reads, ?For the second consecutive Thursday, people seeking an H1N1 vaccination stood in the rain outside the Independence Health Department. But unlike last week, they did not stand in long lines for a long time.?? We hope to continue to read more articles like this!?

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