As University of Maryland Shore Regional Health resumes routine, non-emergency testing, the Diagnostic and Imaging Center (DIC) and Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at Easton are getting busier. “We’ve resumed imaging up to 50 percent of normal-capacity scheduling, and many patients also are catching up on their blood work that they may have been putting off as part of the emphasis on staying home and social distancing,” says Pam Addy, senior vice president, Ambulatory and Clinical Services.
This posed new challenges for those working at the DIC and Breast Center. Waiting rooms in the building, while spacious, could not accommodate a growing complement of patients with the requirement to maintain a distance of 12 feet apart. So, the Ambulatory Services team came up with a new process to help patients get the testing they need while minimizing the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19.
When patients drive up, they are stopped by a “greeter” who directs them to continue on to the circle in front of the entrance rather than going right to the parking lot. At the entrance, patients are greeted by screeners with walkie-talkies who ascertain what testing or provider visit they have come for, ask questions regarding any possible symptoms and take their temperatures, get their phone number, and then direct them to the parking lot. The screeners keep in touch with staff inside the building so that as soon as either their provider is ready to see the patient or there is space for them to be inside for testing with appropriate social distance, they are called to come into the building.
“Patients are very appreciative,” says Addy. “They are understandably nervous to be coming into a medical facility but they understand that this new system is designed for their comfort, convenience and safety. The screeners are there to answer their questions and provide reassurance about the measures in place.”
The new system also enables DIC and Breast Center staff to keep their waiting rooms clear for use by patients who arrive by bus or taxi, and for those with disabilities or any mobility issue.
“We really want everyone to get their testing or their appointments taken care of as quickly and safely as possible,” Addy says. “The only hitch so far is that we have very high volumes in the early morning, so I would say that if you are coming in for blood work and you did not have to fast overnight, try to come later in the day.”
To schedule an appointment for testing at the Diagnostic and Imaging Center or the Clarke Comprehensive Breast Center, call 410-822-2600.
As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.
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