MIT Medical’s Urgent Care Service is now open 8 a.m.– 8 p.m. (last patient check-in, 7:30 p.m.), seven days a week, effective May 1. Nurses are available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 617-253-4481.
The transition to the new operating hours came after more than a year of data analysis, surveys, and pilots. The service began experimenting with the new hours during holiday weekends. This was followed by three longer, successful pilot periods: operating from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. during the summer and then again through November and April of the current school year, two of the service’s busier months. In addition, a close look at Urgent Care utilization numbers revealed that, year-round, relatively few patients came to MIT Medical early in the morning or later at night.
“Our data tell us that patient volume drops dramatically after 8 p.m., to an average of about three patients a night — or one per hour if we’re staying open until 11,” says Medical Director Cecilia Stuopis ’90. “Keeping the service fully staffed during times it’s not even close to being fully utilized didn’t make sense.”
By making these new hours permanent, the team at MIT Medical hopes to reallocate resources as early as this fall to better meet patients’ clinical needs and improve the experience of care. Strategies may include extending radiology, laboratory, and pharmacy hours to match the hours Urgent Care is open; allowing patients to schedule appointments in advance to reduce wait; introducing a new triage process; and implementing online or kiosk-based check-in to address privacy concerns.
“We are looking into making it possible for patients to check in automatically by scanning an MIT ID at a kiosk and answering a few questions on the screen,” Stuopis explains. “That solution may take a bit longer to implement than some other Urgent Care improvements, but it’s something we’re working on.”
“As always, we want your feedback,” says Stuopis. “Anyone with questions or concerns, can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or speak with their provider directly.”