Modern Healthcare is providing COVID-19 for free as a public service and a show of gratitude for the frontline workers. Support essential journalism. Please subscribe here.
Two suburban Chicago hospitals are keeping patients out of the hospital by doing their routine blood thinner test in the parking lot.
Amita Health this week began offering drive-up testing for patients on the blood thinner Coumadin, looking to minimize the number of patients entering hospitals.
Patients who were scheduled for blood tests were able to drive up to hospital parking lots at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village and Amita Health Adventist Medical Center in Hinsdale for a quick finger prick, then wait for personnel at the Illinois hospitals to bring them the results.
The drive-up Coumadin Clinics help patients with conditions such as hypertension or heart disease to avoid entering the hospital and standing in line with other patients. Those patients, who use Coumadin to manage things like atrial fibrillation and mechanical heart valves, face a higher risk if they contract COVID-19, said Dr. Jack Chamberlain, co-director of the Amita Health Heart & Vascular Institute.
"The Coumadin thing came after hours of discussions about how to try to pivot quickly," across the health system to find ways to keep people well and safe from the coronavirus, Dr. Chamberlain said. In addition to establishing aggressive policies to ramp up telehealth and delay elective procedures, "we thought, if they're doing drive-up COVID-19 testing, why can't we do drive-up Coumadin Clinics? Within 48 hours, we had ours set up."
Not only does the drive-up keep patients from entering the building, it can help keep the thousands of patients that need testing from having to delay it, Chamberlain said, and that, in turn, can keep those patients out of the emergency room and hospital by correctly managing their blood thinner levels. The clinics can see 25 to 40 patients a day, a statement from Amita said.
The program has been shared across the system and may be instituted at other Amita hospitals, Chamberlain said.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Chicago Business.