ATLANTA, GA – An urgent care center in Atlanta, GA will be the first in the nation to provide drive-thru service as part of a new, innovative way to increase health care efficiency. Instead of the traditional approach to patient care which involved lengthy registration and wait times, patients are now able to remain in their vehicles, register by speakerphone with an RN similarly to those used at fast-food establishments.
They state their chief complaint and give their full medical history, family’s medical histories, social history, allergies, and current medications. Then the patient drives forward to the next available window to see the provider and repeat everything they just told the nurse. The provider is able to diagnose most ailments through the window, thanks in part to new extra long stethoscopes being made by Littmann for this very purpose.
“We saw an emerging market that demands longer tubing to reach patients seated in their vehicles. We simply cornered the market early and expect to see sales rise quickly as this concept catches on,” stated a spokesperson for Littmann. Finally, patients pull forward to a machine which prints work excuses and dispenses the ordered medications.
“I really appreciate the convenience of it,” remarked one local resident. “When I have kids in the car and just picked up groceries, I don’t have time to go inside to have my sinuses checked. I have ice cream melting in the back and just need antibiotics.”
Employees are also enthusiastic about the change. “After years of ICU residency, medicine has become much easier. Even suturing is a breeze. I had a patient just reach his hand through his car window and onto the table. I gave him 4 mg of IM morphine for pain, blocked his finger, gave him 6 stitches and he drove off. No sweat.”
Urgent dare director Dr. Robert Norton sees another advantage: “We will likely see a positive trend in Press Ganey scores. Treat ’em and street ’em! But of course more critical patients are not seen in the drive thru. We had a man complain of shortness of breath and chest discomfort. His lips and fingers were turning blue and he was sweating. We directed him to the nearest ER 17 miles down the freeway. The poor guy probably just worked out too hard before coming in and needed IV fluids to rehydrate.”
The brainchild of this revolution, Dr. Ethan Thornsen, imagines the concept will develop even further. “Since the recent shift in medicine to patient-centered care, we believe it would be best to empower patients to choose their own treatment. We retrofitted 2 soda machines to dispense medications. One is for antibiotics, and the other is for pain medications. Patients typically know what worked best the last time they were hurt or sick and what they are allergic to. Unfortunately, the pain medication machine was stolen after 2 days. We are working to replace it promptly.” Area health care establishments are taking note and progressing with plans of their own.