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Walk-Through Coronavirus Screening Station Reduces PPE Use, Boosts Efficiency

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   August 17, 2020

An outdoor coronavirus screening station can be configured and equipped to eliminate direct contact between patients and healthcare workers.

A walk-through novel coronavirus screening station that isolates patients from healthcare workers decreases personal protective equipment utilization and quickens patient processing, a new Annals of Emergency Medicine letter to the editor says.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been in limited supply since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic hit the United States early this year. For health systems and hospitals facing surges of COVID-19 patients, emergency departments have been strained in providing triage.

Compared to an outdoor COVID-19 screening station where healthcare workers come into direct contact with suspected coronavirus patients, an outdoor COVID-19 screening station that isolates healthcare workers from patients generates significant benefits, the letter to the editor says.

  • Average daily consumption of N95 respirator masks decreased 87%
     
  • Average daily consumption of isolation gowns decreased 93%
     
  • Processing time to screen patients decreased 83%

An outdoor COVID-19 screening station that isolates healthcare workers from patients has several key elements, the letter to the editor says.

  • Separate passageways for patients and healthcare workers
     
  • A quarantine triage area, a patient tele-consulting room, a chest X-ray booth, and consultation cubicles for nasal sampling
     
  • All assessments are conducted with healthcare workers behind acrylic windows, so there is no need for the workers to don PPE
     
  • Healthcare workers communicate with patients through an audio system
     
  • The chest X-ray booth is configured so technicians can position the digital cassette and portable X-ray unit without coming into direct contact with patients, avoiding the donning of PPE
     
  • Nasal swabs and blood samples are collected at windows equipped with glove ports
     
  • Specimen tubes and vials in collection bags are passed from patients to healthcare workers through a sealed port
     
  • Patients are screened sequentially, which lowers congestion of patients and speeds the screening process

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

In the United States, personal protective equipment has been in limited supply and emergency departments have struggled with triage during coronavirus patient surges.

An outdoor coronavirus screening station that avoids direct contact between healthcare workers and patients can dramatically reduce utilization of N95 respirator masks and isolation gowns.

These screening stations also can significantly reduce the processing time for suspected coronavirus patients.


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