Drive-through Flu Shots

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Drive-through Flu Shots

Health care on the go

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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It’s not just burgers at the drive-through these days. Now you can get health care — or sick care, if you prefer.

Stanford Hospital and Clinics has instituted a new way to treat flu sufferers during a pandemic. A recent trial involving 50 vehicles with adults and children earned high marks for patient satisfaction, and it is no wonder why.

No one needed to struggle into a crowded, neon-lit room of hard plastic chairs, or mingle with distraught patients. Instead, flu patients had a shorter waiting time and spent it in the comfort of their cars. They could listen to the radio, watch DVDs or talk freely. The most important bonus? People inside the regular emergency department avoided exposure to flu carriers.

How does the system work? When a certain preset patient census occurs, the service activates and signs notify patients as they pull into the parking lot. They then have a choice: the regular emergency department or the nearby parking garage. Both will offer the same triage, medical exam, observation and pharmacy, and cots are set up for anyone needing a more extensive exam.

This system is the brainchild of two physicians, Greg Gilbert and Eric Weiss. During a lunchtime foray to a local fast food joint, they found themselves surrounded by sneezing and coughing young children. They opted for the drive-through instead and, voila, an idea whose time had come!  

Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN, is a freelance writer with extensive hospital and community-based nursing experience.

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