OU Medicine prepares mobile emergency rooms for use in COVID-19 screening

Published: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

OU Medicine is preparing mobile emergency rooms, located near the Emergency Room entrance of OU Medical Center, to help safely and efficiently medically screen urgent and emergent patients for COVID-19.

All OU Medical Center adult emergency room patients (not arriving by ambulance) are triaged through the mobile emergency room, provided respiratory isolation if necessary, and medically screened by Emergency Medicine providers. This facility is not a COVID-19 testing location.

“We want to keep all patients, staff, and providers in our community safe, while at the same time closely monitoring and caring for those with respiratory illness,” said Rowdy Anthony, associate vice president for emergency and trauma services at OU Medical Center.

“Use of this system provides quick isolation of respiratory symptoms, and limits unnecessary contact with other at-risk patients, creating a safer environment for everyone. Emergency Room patients not suspected of COVID-19 symptoms are still evaluated by Emergency Medicine providers,” he added.

Nationally, a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE), such as masks and gowns, has also made it challenging to keep medical providers and staff healthy and safe, Anthony noted. Utilizing these mobile emergency room facilities will require less use of those vital health care resources.