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17-06-2024 | Telemedicine | Innovations in Clinical Practice

Advancing Primary Care Access: Exploring the Impact of the Virtual Waiting Room on the Quadruple Aim

Authors: Mayu Sekiguchi Runge, MD, MPH, Lauren Meade, MD, Zaid Obaida, MD, Vincent J. Mariano, MD, Nicola Sumorok, MD, Eric Churchill, MD, MPH, Sudeep Aulakh, MD, Booker Bush, MD, Linda Canty, MD, Leilani Kidder, NP, Brian Bourgeault, PA, Katherine Newport, NP, Emanuel Parrilla, PA, Paul A. Pirraglia, MD, MPH

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine

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Abstract

Background

Community health centers grapple with high no-show rates, posing challenges to patient access and primary care provider (PCP) utilization.

Aim

To address these challenges, we implemented a virtual waiting room (VWR) program in April 2023 to enhance patient access and boost PCP utilization.

Setting

Academic community health center in a small urban city in Massachusetts.

Participants

Community health patients (n = 8706) and PCP (n = 14).

Program Description

The VWR program, initiated in April 2023, involved nurse triage of same-day visit requests for telehealth appropriateness, then placing patients in a standby pool to fill in as a telehealth visit for no-shows or last-minute cancellations in PCP schedules.

Program Evaluation

Post-implementation, clinic utilization rates between July and September improved from 75.2% in 2022 to 81.2% in 2023 (p < 0.01). PCP feedback was universally positive. Patients experienced a mean wait time of 1.9 h, offering a timely and convenient alternative to urgent care or the ER.

Discussion

The VWR is aligned with the quadruple aim of improving patient experience, population health, cost-effectiveness, and PCP satisfaction through improving same-day access and improving PCP schedule utilization. This innovative and reproducible approach in outpatient offices utilizing telehealth holds the potential for enhancing timely access across various medical disciplines.
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Metadata
Title
Advancing Primary Care Access: Exploring the Impact of the Virtual Waiting Room on the Quadruple Aim
Authors
Mayu Sekiguchi Runge, MD, MPH
Lauren Meade, MD
Zaid Obaida, MD
Vincent J. Mariano, MD
Nicola Sumorok, MD
Eric Churchill, MD, MPH
Sudeep Aulakh, MD
Booker Bush, MD
Linda Canty, MD
Leilani Kidder, NP
Brian Bourgeault, PA
Katherine Newport, NP
Emanuel Parrilla, PA
Paul A. Pirraglia, MD, MPH
Publication date
17-06-2024
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Published in
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Print ISSN: 0884-8734
Electronic ISSN: 1525-1497
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-024-08857-w
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