Just about everything is going curbside these days, and that includes outpatient lab services at UCHealth Memorial Central Hospital in Colorado Springs.
A new drive-thru laboratory services tent opened up on Monday, April 27th, and is proving to be a valuable service for patients.
Nick Stremble, the emergency department manager at Memorial Central says, “We're doing everything we can to get our patients back into a somewhat normal pattern with their health care, while keeping them safe; we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to do that.”
This drive-thru lab tent is a prime example of innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nick explains, “For example, if somebody needs their regular cholesterol tests done, now instead of having to park their car and go inside the hospital, we are able to limit traffic inside the hospital because they can come to the drive-thru tent and get it all done - in and out of here in about 5 minutes - and in most cases never having to leave their car.”
The tent is located on what is usually a physician parking lot just off Children’s View - the street off Boulder that leads to the large parking garage behind the hospital.
Nick says the tent is primarily focused on phlebotomy-based tests, but other samples can be collected. “As it stands right now there is not any test that we cannot perform right here for you. We have a facility just next door to collect urine samples, so again we don't have to go to the main hospital.”
Many of the patients who are the usual customers in the lab fall into the high-risk groups who are at increased risk for COVID-19.
Nick says there have been many phone calls from people asking about the new drive-thru tent, “We had an elderly couple that was very excited to know that they would be able to go back to their regularly scheduled blood work, in a way that is very safe for them because these are the at-risk populations. Our goal is to give them an opportunity to continue with their health care but do it in a safe way, and really keep their exposure down as much as possible, and that is very beneficial to them.”
Nick says they have seen a variety of people using this new service, and the convenience it offers comes at no extra cost. “We have had folks coming through with their newborns for their two-day newborn checks. We've also had some folks come through in a cab and get their blood work done, and the overall response has been very positive.”
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