Grey-Bruce ‘Hockey Hub’ model moving west

In a recent media release by Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, it would appear that the Grey-Bruce ‘Hockey Hub’ immunization concept is moving west.

                                             Hanover, Ontario Hockey Hub immunization centre

When the Morden (Manitoba) super site opens on March 22nd, COVID-19 vaccine providers will be piloting the new process that is easier and more comfortable for patients, while also significantly increasing the number of vaccines that can be provided in a day, according to  the Premier and Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson.

The premier noted the approach will be tested at the RBC Convention Centre super site in Winnipeg beginning next week. It was inspired by the ‘hockey hub’ model developed in Grey-Bruce Ontario and will be adapted to reflect Manitoba’s experiences with Focused Immunization Teams (FIT) and the immunization effort to date.

Currently in Manitoba, people visiting a super site to be immunized walk from the registration desk to a waiting area, to the immunization room and finally to a post-immunization observation area. The immunizer is responsible for reconstituting the vaccine and drawing it into the needle, delivering the vaccine and checking and updating a client’s immunization records.  With these additional responsibilities, immunizers are able to provide six to eight immunizations per hour.

In the new process, people will enter the site, register and be escorted to a station, where a staff member will come to them to review their consent form. Some staff will be assigned to reconstitute and fill the needles with vaccine to accelerate the process, while other staff members will focus on checking and updating immunization records.

Immunizers will move from client-to-client with a cart of supplies, meaning they are able to focus on immunizing. It is expected to vastly increase the number of immunizations they can complete in an hour, but the overall effect of this change is part of what will be evaluated in the pilot project.

As has been found in Grey Bruce, the new model also significantly improves the patient experience as they stay in one place with clinic staff coming to them making the whole process patient-centric. This is not only beneficial for seniors, for people with mobility or other accessibility needs but is also more efficient. The total time each person spends in the Manitoba clinic is expected to decrease, on average to 25 minutes from 45 minutes, which includes a required 15-minute, post-immunization recovery period speeding up the entire process to allow more people to be immunized more quickly.

“The more vaccine we deliver, the more we learn how to improve our processes and ramp up delivery, just as vaccine delivery is poised to ramp up from the federal government,” said Pallister. “We will continue to learn from our experiences and best practices from across the country to increase our capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines and protect Manitobans from COVID-19.”