Heroes for Better: Micah J. Eimer, MD, and the Care Team at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute in Glenview
April 17, 2020 | 1 min. to read
Carhop-style service is unexpected in health care, but COVID-19 has made in-office visits risky for patients with certain medical conditions. In late March, Micah J. Eimer, MD, cardiologist and medical director at Northwestern Medicine Glenview Outpatient Center, along with Medical Assistant Janet McCall and Patient Access Specialist Meena Wadhwa, decided to try something new to ensure the safest care for a high-risk patient — deliver the care at the patient’s car-side.
The 88-year-old patient is on warfarin and was in need of an INR blood test as part of warfarin safety monitoring. But she also has lung scarring and chronic shortness of breath caused by a case of pneumonia three years ago. The combination puts her at high risk for complications of COVID-19 should she become infected.
“I was talking to my patient on the phone and was afraid to have her come to the clinic where, due to more people being around, there is an increased risk of exposure,” Dr. Eimer says. “Janet McCall and I looked at each other and had a lightbulb moment: ‘Why don’t we just go down to the parking lot?’
“For me, one of the lessons of the pandemic is, ‘Don’t be afraid to think about things in a different way,’” he continues. “For example, with the risk of infection inherent in in-person visits, we’ve quickly adjusted our practice and expectations to take advantage of telehealth. Extreme circumstances require — and inspire — creativity and change.”
While the car-side care delivery had awkward aspects, for example, carting out supplies and then doing the work while leaning through a car window in the rain, it met the purpose of providing a safer way to measure the patient’s INR levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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