This spring, the Emergency Department at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital rolled out a new program designed to get folks with low-level emergency care needs treated as quickly as possible. Called “InQuicker at VacaValley,” the program allows patients to register online and wait at home until just before their appointment time.
“It’s part of our effort to provide exceptional service to our community,” explains Elnora Cameron, vice president of strategic development.
Our goal is to have the patient seen by a provider within 15 minutes of their appointment time.
Appointments are offered between 3 and 10:30 p.m. seven days a week, says Sarah Jewel, director of Business Development, who developed the program with InQuicker, a company out of Nashville that provides the scheduling software to emergency departments in more than 300 hospitals nationwide.
“Our goal is to have the patient seen by a provider within 15 minutes of their appointment time. And although it’s impossible to predict how long something will take, it is our goal to have the patient in and out within an hour,” says Sandy Bauman, clinical manager for Emergency Services.
“We have the capability at VacaValley Hospital,” explains Sandy. “We can’t do this at NorthBay Medical Center’s Emergency Department because we’re at capacity with the current volume of patients, but we can make a difference now at VacaValley, and perhaps that will ultimately reduce some of the burden on NorthBay as well.”
If something does come up that inundates the emergency room, the InQuicker software can quickly send out notices to patients to reschedule them, giving staff breathing room to address the crisis of the moment.
“It’s the perfect service for a parent whose child is growing progressively sicker during the evening,” explains Sarah. “Mom doesn’t want to wait until morning, but dreads the idea of dragging her child to an emergency room where she could be waiting quite a while. This will allow the child to stay at home in a comfortable setting and still be seen by a physician without a long wait at the hospital.”