Medical Group establishes drive-through health screening
By Ilka Cole
/ Published April 09, 2020
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 96th Medical Group recently established a new drive-through screening process to combat the spread of COVID-19. The process keeps patients potentially infected with COVID-19 separated from other patients using the hospital.
The drive-through health screening process provides a car-side assessment of patients directed to the hospital after an over-the-phone assessment by a nurse.
“We want to see our patients in the safest manner possible, and we feel this is the safest way to do that. It is working out really well.” said Dr. Jeffrey Schievenin, 96th Medical Group faculty physician.
Before patients arrive for their appointment, resident physicians receive a notification with the patient's symptoms and begin a review of their medical records and gather clinical opinions to devise a care plan.
“By the time the patient gets here, we pretty much know what we are going to do,” said Schievenin.
Teams of two meet the patient car-side for a physical evaluation. First, medical technicians roll out the blood pressure monitors to take vital signs, and then, a resident physician evaluates the patient. Meanwhile, staff-physicians are close by to oversee medical and testing decisions.
Patients get care, in the same manner they would in the clinic. If antibiotics are necessary, they receive treatment. Some patients receive cold packs made up of Tylenol, guaifenesin, Claritin, or Sudafed.
“If a patient needs medication, the docs here will call in the prescription and activate it on the patient’s behalf. We also have runners that pick up the medication and deliver it to the patient,” said Capt. (Dr.) Julie Creech, a resident physician with the 96th MDG.
The drive-through can screen for COVID-19, influenza, and strep throat if necessary. They also have respiratory panels to tests for various other viruses.
Anyone tested for a respiratory panel, influenza, or COVID-19 is automatically booked a virtual or telephone appointment within 72 hours to ensure patients receive the results as soon as possible to update their plan of care, said Creech.
All patients tested for COVID-19 are placed on a 14-day quarantine according to Schievenin.
Since the medical group began the new outdoor screening process, they see an average of 30 to 40 patients daily and can handle 64 with the process currently in place. If they experience a rush of patients, they can see up to 128 by adding a few more teams of residents.
"We are expecting a surge, but hope it does not come," said Schievenin.
Inside, other health care providers host virtual office visits with their patients.