May 15, 2020 at 9:18 a.m.
Resembling a phone booth, the glass testing box enclosure allows test-collectors to safely swab patients for COVID-19 without cycling through valuable supplies of protective gowns. Since the patient and healthcare worker are separated by a glass wall, there’s no need for healthcare workers to don gowns and masks the way they would if swabbing a patient face-to-face.
“It’s unreal how much PPE we’re saving,” says Dana Seeker, a Medical Assistant at M Health Fairview Clinic – Bloomington Oxboro. “In the past, if I saw 90 patients in a day, that’d be 90 gowns and 180 gloves.”
Considering that it’s PPE supplies – not testing materials – currently posing the primary limitation on testing capacity, the innovation’s impact is enormous. The booths will improve testing efficiencies making it possible to double testing capacity at clinics that have them. Twelve booths will soon be spread across M Health Fairview’s eight testing sites.
Here’s how the booth works:
· A fan pushes air through a HEPA filter and into the booth, creating a positive-pressure environment that repels outside particulates.
· A pair of gloves extends from the front giving the provider the ability to operate in close contact with the patient without wearing a gown or mask.
· The patient side of the booth is cleaned between uses.
“Once you’re in there and can work without all of the gear on, it’s pretty awesome,” Dana says. “It’s going to make testing so much easier going forward. It’s safe for medical assistants who are swabbing, it’s safe for the patients, and it’s saving so much with the equipment."
The testing booth is a partnership between M Health Fairview and the machine shop in the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, reflecting a shared vision to improve the health of Minnesotans. It is a continued effort to ramp up COVID-19 testing as part of the statewide testing strategy we helped develop.
Symptomatic patients should visit OnCare.org to be evaluated for testing. If the patient meets the criteria following clinical assessment, they will be scheduled for an appointment at one of our eight drive-in testing centers.