Exploring Drive-Through and Mobile Operations
Facing the challenges of our hospitals and medical spaces becoming overwhelmed and constrained by the continuing increase of patients, we need to look to non-traditional methods to treat and reach all patient populations. Exploring trends on the rise, such as “drive through” and mobile operations, could help to alleviate excessive patient flow into our medical centers.
In 1971 Gary Clinton opened the first drive-through pharmacy in a former bank building. Many questioned the validity of a drive-through pharmacy, but in 1991 it caught on and become an expected commodity. with current the current challenges of today’s pandemic we should again turn to this convenience and roll out options to test and triage patients via their vehicles in available parking lots or other large, open sites. Giving populations the opportunity to remain in their own vehicles provides a modicum of comfort and allows for distancing from clinical personnel. Drive through COVID-19 operations can provide for easy swab testing, hand-off of medical supplies, and quick exams for fever or other symptoms.
Going hand-in-hand with drive through operations is the opportunity to mobilize clinical staff and broaden the reach to patients in rural areas. EMT vehicles are fully equipped with supplies and equipment for on-site care, perhaps we resurrect recently decommissioned vehicles to assist with testing and triage of potentially infected patients. RVs can be retrofitted quickly to respond to needs for testing, supply flow, and preliminary examinations. A secondary mobile source could act as a shuttle for confirmed infected patients to quickly transport them to a medical facility, should they require transportation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to advancements in technology and extreme strategic thinking. Now is the time to reconsider ideas from generations past and concepts thought too impractical and resurrect them for reconsideration.
About Cherise Poulin
Assoc. AIA, Associate Partner