Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused mainly by influenza A and B. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times leads to death. Complications of the flu can be pneumonias, head, ear and sinus infections, and increased risk for illness in patients with respiratory conditions and chronic diseases. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illness, serious complications and death.
The drive-thru flu clinic was shaped through discussions with patients and employees concerning their needs with regards to flu. Our performance measure immunization report indicated our rate of vaccination of patients age 65 and greater showed a vaccination rate at 66% and patients ages 18-64 flu vaccination rate at 46% in FY 17. Many of our patients do not have primary care provider appointments scheduled during the flu season, are disabled, or find it difficult to come to clinic for just a flu shot. We felt that through a drive-thru flu clinic, we could increase our vaccination numbers and improve our patients experience. In addition there are no drive-thru flu clinics offered locally.
An innovation grant was submitted to request funds to provide a drive-thru flu clinic at our Lake City Primary Care Clinic and at The Villages Outpatient Clinic. A budget was created and submitted to cover the equipment and supply costs for the endeavor, and an innovation grant was awarded for $12,500. Both clinics then had to plan how to set up the clinic, staff it, advertise, stay within the budget, and implement the drive-thru at their existing clinics. A multidisciplinary team was established at The Villages Outpatient Clinic to plan the dates/times, roles, and responsibilities of the different clinical staff involved, documentation, computer technology, pharmacy, security /crowd control, staffing, emergency service, testing the plan, and challenges.
The measure of success was tracking the number of patients who received their flu shot from the drive-thru flu clinics and patient satisfaction. The risks associated with the drive-thru flu clinic included the possibility of a severe reaction to the flu vaccine, an incident requiring an emergency response team or code team, or an automobile accident, and all had to be planned for.
A debrief session was conducted after each drive-thru to identify what went well and what was needed to improve the program to ensure the next drive-thru was even better. Additional lessons were learned that could not be incorporated into this year’s flu drive but will be incorporated into future planning.
The statistical numbers are currently being calculated and the patient response was overwhelmingly positive. The patients were so grateful to be able to just drive up to the clinic, never leave the comfort of their car, extend their arm, and drive away in very little time having been immunized. It was a great success.