Drive-Through Medicine: A Novel Proposal for Rapid Evaluation of Patients During an Influenza Pandemic
ABSTRACT During a pandemic, emergency departments (EDs) may be overwhelmed by an increase in patient visits and will foster an environment in which cross-infection can occur. We developed and tested a novel drive-through model to rapidly evaluate patients while they remain in or adjacent to their vehicles. The patient's automobile would provide a social distancing strategy to mitigate the person-to-person spread of infectious diseases.
We conducted a full-scale exercise to test the feasibility of a drive-through influenza clinic and measure throughput times of simulated patients and carbon monoxide levels of staff. We also assessed the disposition decisions of the physicians who participated in the exercise. Charts of 38 patients with influenza-like illness who were treated in the Stanford Hospital ED during the initial H1N1 outbreak in April 2009 were used to create 38 patient scenarios for the drive-through influenza clinic.
The total median length of stay was 26 minutes. During the exercise, physicians were able to identify those patients who were admitted and discharged during the real ED visit with 100% accuracy (95% confidence interval 91% to 100%). There were no significant increases of carboxyhemoglobin in participants tested.
The drive-through model is a feasible alternative to a traditional walk-in ED or clinic and is associated with rapid throughput times. It provides a social distancing strategy, using the patient's vehicle as an isolation compartment to mitigate person-to-person spread of infectious diseases.
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ABSTRACT: This paper presents two new theorems for establishing the convergence properties of multi-step constrained optimization algorithms with antijamming features. The theorems extend earlier results of Polak and Klessig and are based on a transcription of multi-step methods into one-step methods in a higher-dimensional space.Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications 04/1982; 37(1):33-44. DOI:10.1007/BF00934365 · 1.41 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective The aims of this study were to identify the impact of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza on Australian Emergency Departments (EDs) and their staff, and to inform planning, preparedness, and response management arrangements for future pandemics, as well as managing infectious patients presenting to EDs in everyday practice. Methods This study involved three elements: 1. The first element of the study was an examination of published material including published statistics. Standard literature research methods were used to identify relevant published articles. In addition, data about ED demand was obtained from Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) publications, with several state health departments providing more detailed data. 2. The second element of the study was a survey of Directors of Emergency Medicine identified with the assistance of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM). This survey retrieved data about demand for ED services and elicited qualitative comments on the impact of the pandemic on ED management. 3. The third element of the study was a survey of ED staff. A questionnaire was emailed to members of three professional colleges—the ACEM; the Australian College of Emergency Nursing (ACEN); and the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia (CENA). The overall response rate for the survey was 18.4%, with 618 usable responses from 3355 distributed questionnaires. Topics covered by the survey included ED conditions during the (H1N1) 2009 influenza pandemic; information received about Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza; pandemic plans; the impact of the pandemic on ED staff with respect to stress; illness prevention measures; support received from others in work role; staff and others' illness during the pandemic; other factors causing ED staff to miss work during the pandemic; and vaccination against Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analysed. Results The results obtained from Directors of Emergency Medicine quantifying the impact of the pandemic were too limited for interpretation. Data sourced from health departments and published sources demonstrated an increase in influenza-like illness (ILI) presentations of between one and a half and three times the normal level of presentations of ILIs. Directors of Emergency Medicine reported a reasonable level of preparation for the pandemic, with most reporting the use of pandemic plans that translated into relatively effective operational infection control responses. Directors reported a highly significant impact on EDs and their staff from the pandemic. Growth in demand and related ED congestion were highly significant factors causing distress within the departments. Most (64%) respondents established a 'flu clinic' either as part of the ED operations or external to it. They did not note a significantly higher rate of sick leave than usual. Responses relating to the impact on staff were proportional to the size of the colleges. Most respondents felt strongly that Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Influenza had a significant impact on demand in their ED, with most patients having low levels of clinical urgency. Most respondents felt that the pandemic had a negative impact on the care of other patients, and 94% revealed some increase in stress due to lack of space for patients, increased demand, and filling staff deficits. Levels of concern about themselves or their family members contracting the illness were less significant than expected. Nurses displayed significantly higher levels of stress overall, particularly in relation to skill-mix requirements, lack of supplies and equipment, and patient and patients' family aggression. More than one-third of respondents became ill with an ILI. Whilst respondents themselves reported taking low levels of sick leave, respondents cited difficulties with replacing absent staff. Ranked from highest to lowest, respondents gained useful support from ED c No YesAustralasian Emergency Nursing Journal 11/2010; DOI:10.1016/j.aenj.2010.08.268
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ABSTRACT: Surges in patient volumes compromise emergency departments' (EDs') ability to deliver care, as shown by the recent H1N1 influenza (flu) epidemic. Media reports are important in informing the public about health threats, but the effects of media-induced anxiety on ED volumes are unclear. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of widespread public concern about flu on ED use. We reviewed ED data from an integrated health system operating 18 hospital EDs. We compared ED visits during three 1-week periods: (a) a period of heightened public concern regarding flu before the disease was present ("Fear Week"), (b) a subsequent period of active disease ("Flu Week"), and (c) a week before widespread concern ("Control Week"). Fear Week was identified from an analysis of statewide Google electronic searches for "swine flu" and from media announcements about flu. Flu Week was identified from statewide epidemiological data. Data were reviewed from 22 608 visits during the study periods. Fear Week (n = 7712) and Flu Week (n = 7687) were compared to Control Week (n = 7209). Fear Week showed a 7.0% increase in visits (95% confidence interval, 6-8). Pediatric visits increased by 19.7%, whereas adult visits increased by 1%. Flu Week showed an increase over Control Week of 6.6% (95% confidence interval, 6-7). Pediatric visits increased by 10.6%, whereas adult visits increased by 4.8%. At a time of heightened public concern regarding flu but little disease prevalence, EDs experienced substantial increases in patient volumes. These increases were significant and comparable to the increases experienced during the subsequent epidemic of actual disease.The American journal of emergency medicine 01/2011; 30(2):275-82. DOI:10.1016/j.ajem.2010.11.027 · 1.15 Impact Factor