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“I Don’t Feel Good” Where to Go and Why: An Educational Intervention to Decrease Walk In Wait Times

Background: Many of the patients at the Holyoke Health Center (HHC) come into the walk-in center seeking care that should be managed at a different facility.
Objective: This project aims to evaluate the effectiveness of educating patients on when they should go to the walk-in center, emergency department (ED), or their primary care provider (PCP). With this education we aim to decrease the overall wait times seen in the walk-in.
Methods: An educational poster was implemented in both English and Spanish into a television slideshow that appears in the waiting areas throughout HHC. This poster reviews which facility one should seek healthcare depending on the current situation. We look to compare data from previous years with data gathered a year after implementation. A scholarly review was done to assess how to decrease overcrowding in the ED and ways to improve this issue.
Results: This project is currently underway, so the results are inconclusive. We predict that a year after implementation, the incidence of these visits will decrease, decreasing wait times at the walk-in. After conducting a scholarly review, research suggests that there are varying reasons one chooses the ED over their PCP. This project focuses on education as a way to combat this ongoing issue. It also suggests that more research needs to be done on the impact education has on the number of inappropriate visits to these facilities. Implications: This education can help overall patient flow throughout the walk-in center.

Grace Looney '23
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