Imagine pulling up to the doctor’s office, only to never need to step foot inside.
That’s what Spectrum Health is currently piloting at three sites in Grand Rapids, with plans to launch similar services across West Michigan by the end of August.
The service is for all ages and includes many immunizations, injections and tests. This includes a host of services—from flu vaccines to B12 injections and strep tests.
For some it’s a matter of convenience, and for others it’s more of a feeling of safety amid continued COVID-19 worries.
Jackie Kamp, 24, appreciated curbside service for her recent appointment and plans to tell others about it.
“I can see where this type of convenience would ease some people’s fears about being around other people,” she said. “For me it was more about the convenience. My appointment literally took five minutes!”
Mary Nichols, a LPN at Spectrum Health Rivertown Internal Medicine, loves the new program, too.
She meets patients outside, goes over the basics on what to expect, and pulls her cart up to the side of the vehicle. Most appointments take just minutes with patients never needing to leave their vehicles.
“I have been a nurse for more than 30 years and never thought I’d be giving vaccinations right in a patient’s vehicle,” she said. “Our patients are really receptive to this new option and it seems to be going over extremely well.”
Here’s how it works: Appointments are scheduled by calling the office and requesting curbside service. When arriving at your scheduled appointment, look for designated parking spaces. Call the phone number listed on the sign to let the office know you have arrived. Complete the necessary registration over the phone. A team member will then meet you at your vehicle and everything is done through the car window.
Mary Zimmerman, immunization program specialist at Spectrum Health, says the program is meant to help families stay on schedule with vaccinations and wellness checks. Because many medical appointments had to be postponed or canceled during the pandemic, many fell behind on routine care.
“There are 16 vaccines available for serious illnesses, all of which are preventable diseases with vaccinations,” she said. “In the last two years we have seen outbreaks in Michigan on measles, mumps and hepatitis A. We are hoping this new service will ease people’s minds and make it easier to keep up on necessary vaccinations.”
Ruth Aernouts is one of those patients who had concerns. When she received a call from Spectrum Health reminding her she needed a shingles booster vaccine, she felt uneasy about visiting in-person.
“They said they were now offering curbside, and I said that’s great,” she said. “If this wasn’t an option, I would have put it off. I wasn’t comfortable coming into a medical office just yet.”
Ruth is used to other curbside services, such as picking up food. This was a first for her in terms of medical care going curbside.
“I’ll definitely do this again given the option and would recommend it to anyone,” she said.