RVH’s New “Pink Zone” project catching attention of area hospitals

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) new Minor Conditions Booking Portal “Pink Zone” is attracting attention from hospitals around the province eager to replicate the success of the health centre’s homegrown Emergency Department (ED) project. Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH) recently launched a pilot of the RVH model this week.

For this initiative, which is being tracked by a rigorous research protocol, patients with minor limb ailments such as a sprain, strain, or a simple break, or those exhibiting cold, or flu symptoms are eligible to prebook same or next-day appointments. Before confirming their booking, patients must take a quick self-assessment to ensure their condition does not require immediate attention. Once they arrive for their appointment, they enter the health centre through a designated entrance and wait in a separate area away from the Emergency Department called the “Pink Zone.”

The purpose of the project is to help mitigate ED challenges such as long wait times and overcrowding. Early data indicates it’s working. Giving low-acuity, symptom-specific patients an alternative to seeking care in the ED reduces the number of people in ED waiting rooms. Further, patients in the “Pink Zone” are being seen within half an hour of arrival and out the door, complete with necessary imaging or labs, in less than 1.5 hours instead of waiting four or more in the ED while physicians attend to sicker, more acute patients first.

To date, 500 patients have not had to seek treatment in the ED by booking an appointment in the “Pink Zone.”

“Recognizing both the importance of healthcare access for those in Simcoe County and the severe challenges faced by EDs across the province, our team worked hard to develop this unique approach,” says Dr, Christopher Zanette RVH’s Chief of Emergency. “Our hope is that other organizations can utilize what we have learned in their communities, resulting in better quality and access to care in the region and across the province.”

Data from this new system, including data from CGMH’s pilot, is being compiled until April 30, 2024.

Patients can book next and same day appointments Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The booking link can be found on the RVH website (rvh.on.ca) under Emergency Department or click here.

Patients are always encouraged to seek care from their primary care provider first; however, outside of the ED Minor Conditions Booking Portal you can also call 8-1-1, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; or consider a local walk-in clinic.

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