A hub model set-up and process for delivering COVID-19 immunizations within Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) clinics is paying off in both client satisfaction and clinic efficiency.
Instead of the patient moving to the immunizers, in this model, the patient stays in one spot and the immunizers come to them.
This hub model was originally developed by Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health and CEO of Grey Bruce Health Unit in Ontario. Upon learning of it, the Martensville vaccine clinic team was intrigued by the improvements implementing this model could make at their location. The clinic is set up in the Northridge Centennial Community Centre, a facility also used for events during non-clinic hours.
“The idea behind the hub model is that you can vaccinate many more people in a shorter time with fewer immunizers,” said Kathi Lewis, Manager, Primary Health Care. “It also allows for a more minimalistic setup, which means the takedowns and set-ups of the clinic can be done more effectively.”
A client attending a hub model clinic will go through the COVID-19 screening questions and take an available seat, where they will stay right through their immunization and their post-immunization wait.
“Martensville has three pods, each with six chairs,” explained Michael Mcara, Quality and Innovation Specialist. “The immunizer keeps going around in a circle. By the time they get to chair six, the person in chair one is done their post-immunization wait and leaves. We clean that spot and then put someone new in the chair, going in sequential order in each pod.”
The Martensville COVID-19 immunization clinic requires a less labour-intensive set-up, one of the benefits of the hub model the team has been running.
The team sought feedback from clients at the beginning of the pilot project, asking them to rate their experience from one to 10, and all evaluations were an eight or above. According to the feedback, clients enjoy that the care comes to them and is more client-friendly.
Because clients are not moving from area to area, and seat to seat, there are also fewer surfaces to clean after each one leaves, which is one factor that improves efficiency.
"When we talk about cycle times, it’s about half the time required in this model, so our cycle times are five to six minutes versus eight to 10 minutes,” said Mcara. “It’s definitely more efficient, and the data does show that. When we have that data, along with positive feedback from staff and clients, it’s a win.”
The model is now being adapted to the Saskatoon Prairieland Park vaccine clinic, and has been used in Regina at the International Trade Centre clinic, where the team has also seen the same positive feedback from both immunizers and clients.
“A client who came in to our Prairieland clinic with her child commented that the numbers of people coming in must have dropped off, because it seemed a lot calmer than when she came through previously,” said Cheryl MacMillan, COVID Vaccine Readiness Lead (Saskatoon). “That really surprised us. We were actually immunizing more people, but the set-up gave the opposite impression with less movement of clients happening.”