Urgent care clinics offer the perfect opportunity for patients to be vaccinated. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, there were around 7,000 urgent care clinics in 2016, and more than half (66 percent) of urgent care patients have an outside primary care physician, yet still take advantage of urgent care services.
Although many American’s still have a primary care physician (PCP), data shows that many people are turning to urgent cares to avoid delays in getting an appointment for less severe illnesses or injuries that need immediate treatment. Due to their convenience and easy access, urgent care clinics are becoming an important healthcare option making them an opportune place to offer vaccinations. However, many urgent care providers are hesitant to provide this service.
Urgent care providers may perceive immunization services as financially risky or too much of a hassle, but with proper planning and a good understanding of how to store and handle vaccines, these risk can be minimized or even eliminated. Offering vaccinations is a great way for urgent care providers to differentiate themselves while providing an important service to the community. Travel, school requirements, and influenza vaccinations are opportunities for urgent care clinics to offer immunizations.
The CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit provides helpful information for urgent care clinics on how to properly store and handle vaccines. Following the toolkit dramatically reduces the risk of improper storage and vaccine waste. Investing in the right equipment upfront can make all of the difference. The CDC recommends the use of purpose-built, also known as pharmaceutical grade, refrigerators and freezers for the storage of vaccines. These medical-grade refrigerators and freezers provided many added benefits to make storing vaccines hassle-free. They are often equipped with LCD temperature displays, alarms, self-closing doors, calibrated temperature monitoring devices, data download capabilities, and more.
When planning an immunization program, not only should clinics invest in the right equipment, but they should also invest time into understanding the vaccination needs and patterns of the community the clinic serves. Demographics, occupation, and seasonality can heavily influence the types and amounts of vaccines the urgent care should have on hand.
Moreover, ordering from a vendor as opposed to a manufacturer can provide advantages. Vendors may be able to supply clinics with smaller amounts of vaccines as well as deliver them quickly upon request if inventory starts to run low. Small, compact medical-grade refrigerators are great for urgent care clinics who wish to take this approach. Keeping just the right amount of vaccine on hand eliminates waste and significantly reduces financial risk associated with offering vaccinations. In addition, storing vaccines in a medical-grade refrigerator protects potency and ensures patients are receiving effective vaccinations.
With the right plan and equipment, urgent care clinics can offer vaccinations to their patients in a convenient and cost effective manner. Helmer offers a compact, countertop refrigerator, designed specifically for storing low volumes of vaccines. Learn more about this compact, medical-grade refrigerator today.