Improving the patient experience
The wait for follow-up care is shorter thanks to a process called “Purple Chart,” part of all three Urgent Care clinic locations at Skagit Regional Health.
Urgent care patients with certain diagnoses need to be seen again in the days after their initial visit. Follow-up care has traditionally been the role of the patient’s primary care provider; however, a shortage of local primary care providers can mean a several-week wait time for appointments in many offices, which doesn’t allow for timely follow-up treatment.
“Some of our patients need two- or three-day follow-up that their primary care provider just can’t provide right now,” said Dr. Nona Hanson, who has worked at Skagit Regional Clinics’ Urgent Care since 2013.
“We realized that some patients were having to wait multiple times in one week so that they could get their follow-up care. Some of them weren’t coming back because of the wait,” said Dr. Hanson.
This realization was the motivation to develop this streamlined process for urgent care patients who need to be seen in follow-up, soon after their initial visit. They call it the “Purple Chart Program” which improves patient care and satisfaction.
While the goal of the program is lofty, the process is simple. If a patient needs a short follow-up, which is often helpful for elderly patients, those with pneumonia, a patient in need of a wound check or suture removal, the provider puts the words “purple chart” on the discharge paperwork. When the patient comes back to be seen later in the week, they present the form to the urgent care front office staff. Purple Chart patients are seen before other non-emergent patients, leading to a shortened wait time.
Within the first few months of starting the program, the urgent care team saw signs of success. Patients were getting the follow-up care they need in a timely fashion.
Recently, a gentleman came in with a serious leg infection. Dr. Hanson saw him for follow-up care using the Purple Chart process. The patient finished his visit within 30 minutes of arrival. She noted that even included a 20-minute wait time following an antibiotic injection and a dressing change.
“I told him that he needed to come back again in two days for a re-check,” said Dr. Hanson. “He asked me, “Am I going to be that Purple Chart again? Because that was great!”
When asked how the program got its name, Dr. Hanson noted that purple is the color of royalty. “I want our patients to feel that we treat them like royalty-especially when they need extra attention,” she said. “I hope this program helps us to extend that care to those who need it most.”
Last post : 07/19/2019