Come spring 2017, Quinnipiac’s Student Health Services will be moving to an appointment-based system, according to Director of Student Health Services Christy Chase.
Chase said the new policy will require students to schedule an appointment to see a nurse and will no longer accept walk-ins, except for emergencies. The new policy was implemented with the hopes of reducing the wait time for ailing students.
“A lot of other universities don’t just do 100 percent walk-in clinics, what they do is appointments,” Chase said. “We’re on an electronic health records system that has the capability of having a patient portal where you can go on and schedule a nurse appointment.”
Health Services is currently testing the system by directing students to the patient portal who would otherwise face a long wait time.
The patient portal allows students to check their immunization records, schedule and cancel nurse appointments and change communication preferences.
“The communication preferences is something new we did, starting in October,” Chase said. “If you have a provider appointment with the doctor and the PA [physician’s assistant], you’ll get a text reminder.”
The text reminders have decreased the patient no-show rates from over 17 percent to less than 5 percent, according to Chase.
“This has been very helpful because we only have so many providers, and those appointments are very hard to get,” Chase said.
Nurse appointments can be made online seven days a week from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and can only be made 24 hours in advance. This schedule is subject to change as the system gets up and running, according to Chase.
“Most of our students come because they are acutely ill,” Chase said. “We don’t want it booking up and them not showing.”
Sophomore Infinity Davis has been to the health center and understands why Student Health Services felt the need to make this change.
“It might help with the crowds,” Davis said. “I know a lot of people go in at once sometimes, and you just end up sitting there waiting for a person to go.”
Chase believes that the system will allow students to understand their health needs more than they already do.
“You wouldn’t go to your regular doctor at 2 o’clock in the morning for a sore throat,” Chase said. “Also because there’s more resources for us, like if you had a sore throat and you needed a throat culture, Quest [Diagnostics] isn’t open in the middle of the night.”
In reference to the York Hill campus, it is expected that fewer appointments will be made because only one provider and nurse work in the office.
“Primarily the system is going to focus a lot of attention down here [on Mount Carmel campus] and funneling a lot of the nurse appointments down here because that’s where we have most of the staffing,” Chase said.
Sophomore Michelle Opare has never visited the health center, but believes that they waited until now to make this change in policy after experiencing problems with wait times and receiving a lot of complaints.
“I think they’re just trying to create a more organized system,” Opare said.
It’s important that students know that nurses can treat a lot of things, according to Chase.
“We have standing orders from the doctor so like urinary tract infections, sore throats, even if it was deemed to be strep, the nurses can actually see students for that and treat them,” Chase said.
As Student Health Services redesigns their system to best suit the needs of the students, Chase asks for cooperation from both staff and students.
“It’s a process, and it’s going to have bumps, I realize that,” Chase said. “If everyone could just be patient, staff and students included, I think it will eventually be more useful to everybody and more respectful to everyone’s time.”