Two-Minute Tuesday – July 26, 2022

Covid Clinic safety 

Our testing and laboratory personnel take all possible safety measures into consideration during your COVID-19 testing process. These measures include risk assessments, health and safety plans, social distancing, PPE, and disinfection. Some other safety measures Covid Clinic practices include Heat Illness Prevention, Preventing Cross Contamination, and Hand Hygiene.

On COVID-19, globally reported cases have increased nearly 30% over the past two weeks. The last few weeks have seen an increase in cases in four out of six subregions. Waves are being driven by BA.4 and BA.5 in Europe and America. We are mindfully monitoring a new sub-lineage of BA.2.75 detected in countries like India.

The challenge is compounded by a number of factors. First, in many countries, testing has reduced dramatically. As a result, it’s difficult to get a true picture of this evolving virus and how it’s still affecting communities around the world. In addition, reduced testing means that treatments aren’t given in time to prevent serious illness or death. Secondly, new treatments, especially oral antivirals, are still not reaching low and middle-income countries, putting whole populations at risk.

Thirdly, vaccines’ protection does wane as viruses evolve, although they remain effective at preventing serious disease and death. The decline in immunity emphasizes the importance of boosters, especially for those most at risk. Furthermore, each wave of the virus leaves more people with long-term COVID or post-COVID symptoms. It affects individuals and their families, but it also puts a strain on health systems, broader economies, and society at large.

Because of these things, it’s more important than ever for Covid Clinic to follow as many safety protocols as possible–not just to keep our patients safe, but our employees safe too. Learn more about our safety standards by reading on.

1. Proper use of personal protective equipment 

We have strict protocols around safeguarding employees and patients from picking up the virus at a testing site. Some employees, depending on their role, take extra precaution by wearing PPE, which includes fitted N95 masks, isolation gowns, lab goggles/face shields, and gloves. 

We also have protocols around how to handle the PPE. Gloves are changed after every individual patient. Test analysts constantly sanitize gloves and do not reuse gowns. Soiled linens are not taken home or to a public washing facility as there is potential there for cross-contamination and to expose the public to infectious diseases. When interacting with the public, our team is required to wear a surgical mask and face shield. If an employee needs to be within 6 feet of a patient for more than 15 mins at any time, then a fitted N95 is worn.

2. Sanitation protocols and N95 masks

At our testing sites we work to regularly sanitize items and areas that may be exposed to COVID-19 over the course of the day due to regular operations. We call these areas Hot Zones. To ensure our employees and patients aren’t exposed to the virus in these areas, we take extra measures to keep things safe and sanitized. Hot Zone areas and items include: speciality care areas specifically designated for COVID-19 patients;common hospital objects/items, such as self-service printers, desktops, doorknobs, and keyboards, medical equipment; and HCWs’ PPE, such as gloves, eye protection, and face shields. 

To protect employees and patients from the risk of exposure to those infectious diseases we also utilize N95s. In order to ensure the N95 is going to protect the user properly a mask fit test must be fulfilled.

We also work diligently to ensure that our patients are always located safely outside of our Hot Zones, giving them peace of mind during a visit at any of our locations. 

3. General safety housekeeping

Per OSHA regulation 1910.22 it is required that we keep our sites in “clean, orderly, and in sanitary condition.” Some of the general housekeeping that is completed regularly on our sites include:

  • Working surfaces are inspected, regularly and as necessary, and maintained in a safe condition.
  • Hazardous conditions on working surfaces are corrected or repaired before an employee/patient uses the walking/working surface again.
  • Working surfaces are maintained free of hazards such as sharp or protruding objects, loose boards, corrosion, leaks, spills, snow, and ice.

Before adding any equipment to our sites internally/externally, we run extensive safety tests prior to approval, in order to ensure the equipment is compatible with our procedures and equipment.

4. High heat procedures, preventing heat illness, and weather monitoring

At this time of the year our biggest concern is the heat. It is very important for our team to identify the weather forecast in advance and prepare accordingly for each new day.

The National Weather Service is a great resource to check the weather in your area, and to quickly identify on the U.S. map where advisories/ weather warnings are. 

When temperatures exceed 95 degrees, or during a heat wave, our teams hold safety meetings to review the company heat illness prevention procedures, the weather forecast, and our emergency response. During this meeting, it is important to encourage all employees/patients to drink plenty of water, and to remind them to take a cool down rest period, as needed.

We discuss weather throughout all times of the year though, not just in the heat. Many of us experience high winds, storms, etc at our sites nationwide—and it is important to be prepared for the weather we will be working in. 

Why we believe safety practices create better healthcare experiences

As important as any other aspect of quality, maintaining a safe environment demonstrates compassion and vigilance for patient welfare. Quality includes not only preventing preventable harm but also making safe care available—providing pleasant healthcare experiences.

The ability to maintain a safe environment reflects a level of compassion and vigilance that is as vital to competent health care as anything else. In order to improve safety, we are constantly mindful of the causes of errors and design procedural systems of care to minimize errors and minimize their harm. 

As a result, Covid Clinic providers have intensified our efforts to understand and change organizational conditions, components, and processes of health care systems as they relate to patient safety.

Still have questions?

Gone are the days of crowded waiting rooms, daunting hospitals, and cold exam tables. At Rume, we offer care on your terms, where and when you need it, including telemedicine, drive thrus, and popups. You’ll get quick results and trusted insights.