CHICAGO (CBS) — You’re supposed to go to the doctor to get well when you’re sick, but the novel coronavirus is prompting some concerns about getting sick because you went to the doctor’s office. One physician in Orland Park is offering patients a solution: skip the waiting room and opt for his Drive Thru Clinic.
Dr. Waldemar Nowak showed his unique setup to CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas.
Patients can pull in and tell a medical assistant what ails them. Sometimes, for small jobs like flu shots, patients might not even leave their cars. Most of the time, patients get out and go to an exam room right next to their car for further treatment.
“The whole idea is to protect the patient from getting even more sick when they come to me,” Nowak said.
Nowak said, years ago, he noticed his patients would sometimes get sick after visiting him, which he attributes to sitting in a waiting room with other sick people. He opened his Drive Thru Clinic to prevent the spread of the flu and other airborne illnesses.
“Now, with the coronavirus, it’s become kind of useful,” he said.
He has a waiting room, and gives his patients the option of doing it the old-fashioned way. But with the current COVID-19 concerns, he’s pushing even harder for patients to break old habits.
Novak ha posted a sign saying patients with high fever, cough, or sore throat should only use the Drive Thru Clinic.
“More people still using the standard, because they still cannot figure out how you can drive inside the doctor’s office,” he said.
His staff makes sure the doors stay closed between the waiting room and the drive-thru.
One patient, Kristian Brzek, said the drive-thru took some getting used to.
“A drive-thru, you usually associate with like a fast food chain, or something like that, not a health clinic. So it was a really eye-opener as to what could be done,” he said.
Nowak said it has the added benefit of keeping patients out of the snow and rain, and it makes it easier for disabled patients to get in and out.
The doctor said, as far as he knows, he has the only drive-thru health care clinic around. A hospital in Seattle has set up a drive-thru testing center for any employees with COVID-19 symptoms.