Community Spotlight: In the Hot Seat!

Team Peterson

We are Team Peterson – a dedicated staff of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and administrators that provide primary care to thousands of patients in Sarnia and the surrounding area.  With COVID-19 pandemic entering its fifth wave in Canada, increased patient demand and restrictions affecting our in-office provision of care had pushed patients’ wait time to “be seen” to over four weeks.  We needed to change; we needed a paradigm shift!  

Welcome the “Hot Seat” model of care.  Hot Seat is the primary care equivalent to the emergency room “Doc in the Box” model of care, whereas a physician is situated in the triage booth with a nurse to quickly assess and provide disposition planning.  In our office, all inbound medically related phone calls and messages are routed to our team of nurses who perform thorough information-gathering.  The nurses then review their set of patients with the primary care provider (PCP) in the “Hot Seat”.  This is a rapid presentation and triage disposition session in where the Hot Seat PCP either provides directions to share with the patient, calls the patient back with the nurse completing scribe duties, or instructs the nurse to bring the patient in-office to be seen that same day.

The results?  Our wait time is now only one or two days.  We contact nearly twice the number of patients per day as compared to our previous model.  We improved our ability to rapidly identify and care for our sickest patients.  We now have ample capacity to see same-day, in-office patients.  And we’ve reduced unnecessary emergency room and walk-in clinic visits.  By optimizing our staff resources, we now provide up to 100 daily COVID-19 immunizations.  Our next step is to integrate chronic disease management, preventative care, and immunizations as we recover from Wave 5 of the pandemic.  The old aphorism was correct - necessity is the mother of invention!

Dr. Peterson