SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks here began preparing for a global pandemic as COVID-19 rapidly spread across the planet, before it ever hit the islands of Hawaii.
Knowing its military community would inevitably be exposed to this virus, DDHC staff set plans in place that would flatten the curve.
DDHC quickly developed and executed plans for drive-thru COVID-19 screening and testing, an outdoor drive-thru pharmacy, and conducting more than 90 percent of appointments virtually for the safety of its patients and employees.
As the state of Hawaii began cancelling large gatherings and encouraging social distancing, DDHC finalized its plans.
Soon after Hawaii had its first case of COVID-19, DDHC decreased entry to its outdoor campus and established screening points. At the screening points, patients were asked about any recent illnesses or travel and based on their feedback, were grouped into two categories.
If patients answered 'yes' to any questions, they were asked to wear a mask, wash their hands and received a red sticker to identify them as symptomatic but screened. If the patient was non-symptomatic, they were given a green sticker. The stickers helped clinical staff to quickly identify patients and their screening criteria when the patients entered the clinic.
DDHC conducted U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s first-ever drive-thru COVID-19 test on March 17.
“The new parking garage adjacent to our clinic provides a site where we can safely and discreetly test symptomatic patients, protecting other patients and staff from exposure,” said Jason Martin, a population health registered nurse at DDHC's Patient-Centered Medical Home. “Our PCMH quickly stood up a team of medics and nurses who are experts at collecting samples safely and efficiently.
“We stand ready to immediately respond to any future increase in demand for the foreseeable future,” Martin added.
The facility's Nurse Advice Line saw a larger-than-normal call volume when the military community turned to it for help answering COVID-19 questions and screening patients.
DDHC saw a chance to decrease wait times for its patients by developing care team triage lines, where DDHC patients could directly contact their care teams. The triage lines allowed patients to be screened immediately and for same-day drive-thru testing.
A week after beginning drive-thru testing, DDHC started conducting non-essential appointments virtually and opened its outdoor drive-thru pharmacy operations.
The DDHC drive-thru pharmacy services approximately 200 cars a day, with an average wait time per car of under five minutes.
“We are minimizing the amount of time that our patients spend inside of our clinic, which supports our goal to accomplish the mission in the safest way possible for both our patients and staff,” said Col. Dave Zimmerman, DDHC commander. “Our patients have positively embraced our dynamic operations and are very appreciative of our team’s efforts.”