Patient flow time data of COVID-19 vaccination clinics in 23 sites, United States, April and May 2021
Cho, B., Athar, H. M., Bates, L. G., Yarnoff, B. O., Harris, L. Q., Washington, M. L., Jones-Jack, N. H., & Pike, J. J. (2023). Patient flow time data of COVID-19 vaccination clinics in 23 sites, United States, April and May 2021. Vaccine, 41(3), 750-755. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2022.12.013
INTRODUCTION: Public health department (PHD) led COVID-19 vaccination clinics can be a critical component of pandemic response as they facilitate high volume of vaccination. However, few patient-time analyses examining patient throughput at mass vaccination clinics with unique COVID-19 vaccination challenges have been published.
METHODS: During April and May of 2021, 521 patients in 23 COVID-19 vaccination sites counties of 6 states were followed to measure the time spent from entry to vaccination. The total time was summarized and tabulated by clinic characteristics. A multivariate linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the association between vaccination clinic settings and patient waiting times in the clinic.
RESULTS: The average time a patient spent in the clinic from entry to vaccination was 9 min 5 s (range: 02:00-23:39). Longer patient flow times were observed in clinics with higher numbers of doses administered, 6 or fewer vaccinators, walk-in patients accepted, dedicated services for people with disabilities, and drive-through clinics. The multivariate linear regression showed that longer patient waiting times were significantly associated with the number of vaccine doses administered, dedicated services for people with disabilities, the availability of more than one brand of vaccine, and rurality.
CONCLUSIONS: Given the standardized procedures outlined by immunization guidelines, reducing the wait time is critical in lowering the patient flow time by relieving the bottleneck effect in the clinic. Our study suggests enhancing the efficiency of PHD-led vaccination clinics by preparing vaccinators to provide vaccines with proper and timely support such as training or delivering necessary supplies and paperwork to the vaccinators. In addition, patient wait time can be spent answering questions about vaccination or reviewing educational materials on other public health services.