The tech needed for drive-thru COVID-19 testing: Thoughts from Providence's Tabitha Lieberman

When it became clear that Providence needed to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities and sites in the communities it serves, the health system set up drive-thru testing locations.

Those sites required different levels of technology, based on location and need. The Renton, Wash.-based health system used data gathered on COVID-19 cases from affiliated hospitals and health centers to determine which communities needed more testing support, and which locations would be most convenient for patients.

Tabitha Lieberman, senior vice president of clinical and revenue cycle applications at Providence, worked with their teams to establish several technology packages based on the level of support each site needed.

Locations that went live within an hour of identifying the need were equipped with a laptop and paper to record patient interactions. But sites close to hospitals or clinics were set up with WIFI and secure computers to access the health system's patient record systems.

"A majority of our drive-thrus were registered within the core EHR," said Mrs. Lieberman. "The patients were pre-registered or registered on-site, and the team could do documentation in real time with the laptops and tools we created to track COVID-19 information. Some sites also used the iPad that Epic provides for visits, but most found the laptops were a preferable solution."

When considering how to deploy the technology, Mrs. Lieberman assessed the level of permanence for the site, anticipated patient volume and which technology the staff preferred. The health system now has 19 drive-thru testing sites.

More articles on health IT:
The platforms physicians can and can't use to communicate with patients
How Beaumont Health is using patient data, tech to manage COVID-19: 4 Qs with CIO Hans Keil
Trump administration requests daily COVID-19 data from hospitals: 5 things to know

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