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Walk-in care optimizes options

Walk-in care optimizes options

By Chris Coyne

Let's look at a hypothetical situation: you need medical attention, but it's after regular doctor's hours or on a weekend. You don't feel well, but it's not life-threatening. What should you do?

In the past, a trip to the emergency room used to be the only option. For patients with less severe symptoms, the ER was not always the most efficient or effective mode of care. Health care institutions across the country understood this conundrum and are coming up with unique ways to provide appropriate care that is not only more cost-effective for the hospital, but provide better experiences for patients as well.

One example (two actually) of this evolution in patient care are the Walk-In Care Centers at Arnot Health in Horseheads and Painted Post.

The proliferation of walk-in centers reflects a trend toward more patient-centered health care, where the needs of the patient are paramount in determining the services provided. Healthy Life spoke to Dr. Robert Lambert, President of Arnot Medical Services about the emergence of their walk-In centers as vital, valuable care providers in the region.

Dr. Lambert says that the two Arnot Health walk-in centers have been in operation for a relatively short time, but that the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Easier access to health care, cost effective operation and affordability for the patients is all reasons why the centers are succeeding.

Related: 'Like' Arnot Health - Arnot Ogden Medical Center on Facebook

Now a student, or a person working 9 to 5, has access to quality care in evening hours and even on the weekend. For those with less-severe maladies such as sprains or strains, flu symptoms, headache or any other non-life threatening symptoms; the opportunity to see a doctor without making an expensive visit to the ER is ideal.

Dr. Lambert says that most larger health care systems are moving toward a similar model of providing walk-in care because it just makes sense. Emergency Room treatment for situations that are not truly emergencies is inefficient and costly for both the hospital and the patient.

With the walk-in centers, Arnot can offer more robust, patient-appropriate care 7 days a week.

An added advantage for walk-in care, according to Dr. Lambert, is the increased use of electronic records. "Electronic records have been a boon to how we care for our patients." Arnot Health-based electronic patient records can be accessed from any Arnot Health facility at any time, which makes for a much more streamlined and better coordinated patient process.

In the end, it's all about the patient. The walk-in offers a kind of patient care that, in the past, had not been feasible. Dr. Lambert attributes the very high patient satisfaction levels among walk-in patients to the fact that they appreciate that the health care institution is showing respect for their time, and making an effort to be more accessible to more people. It makes for a strong relationship between patient and provider, and builds trust that can last a lifetime.

Arnot Health currently has two walk-in care centers in operation: In the Horseheads Medical Office Building at 100 John Roemmelt Drive, Suite 301, with hours on Monday through Thursday from 10am to 8pm, and from Friday through Sunday from 9am to 6pm; and at AMS-Erwin Primary Care at 418 S. Hamilton Street, Suite 109 in Painted Post with weekend hours Friday through Sunday from 9am to 6pm.

Contributor:
Robert Lambert, MD
President, Arnot Medical Services
Arnot Health