TCU Health Center changes improve medical efficiency

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    The Brown-Lupton Health Center has transitioned from a walk-in clinic to an appointment-based system and switched from physical to electronic medical records, Director of Nursing and Clinical Services Kelle Tillman said.

    Tillman said these changes are mutually beneficial for the patients and the physicians.

    “The wait time is lessened considerably and the amount of time the physician can devote to the patient is improved dramatically from being on a walk-in system,” she said.

    Tillman said switching from a walk-in clinic to an appointment system has been a common trend on college campuses.

    “We benchmarked and looked comparatively at other universities – specifically schools in the Big 12 – and we were the only health center that did not work on the appointment system," she said.

    However, appointments are only required if you need to see a physician, she said.

    Stephanie Baldwin, a staff nurse, said that although the Health Center has switched to an appointment system, a student can still walk in and expect to see a nurse.

    The Health Center has two triage nurses who will assess walk-in patients. If the case is urgent, they will do their best to fit them in to see a physician immediately. Otherwise, these nurses will either schedule an appointment for the patient for the next day or make recommendations for over-the-counter medications.

    Both Tillman and Baldwin said moving to electronic medical records will also improve the quality and efficiency of care.

    Baldwin said this switch helps the nurses to be better prepared for their patients.

    “The staff nurse can get on to the computer to check on their next patient, to see what time their appointment is and to view what is bringing that patient into the clinic that day," she said.

    Baldwin said the electronic system compiles the entire medical history of each patient.

    "Based on that, we can look through their entire medical records to see if they’ve had history with this," she said. "So actually the provider is a little bit more prepared.”

    Baldwin also said the electronic system helps them with scheduling the right amount of time needed for a student’s specific appointment, increasing the efficiency of the appointment system.

    Both Tillman and Baldwin said they are optimistic about the integration of these system changes.

    “The goal is for the students to get better-quality care,” said Tillman.