Patient Perceptions of Drive-Through Medical Treatment Facilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sean Stuart, DO, LCDR, MC, USN; Sally Mandichak, MD, LT, MC, USN; Julianne Davison, MD, LT, MC, USN; Shai Ansell, MD, LT, MC, USN; Timothy Parker, MD, LT, MC, USN


Western J Emerg Med. 2021;22(5):1032-1036. 

In This Article


Between May 1–July 1, 2020, we received a total of 827 responses. Given the anonymity of the survey, comprehensive data on demographics and comorbidities of respondents is not available. For the 2437 all comers to the DMEF, the median age was 32.5 (range 18–56 years old), and represented both active duty military and their dependents. Of the participants, 68% were male. For patient perceptions of the components of their care, three-quarters of respondents (n = 617) believed the overall care they received was equivalent to what they would have received in the ED with an additional 13.1% (n = 108) rating their overall care as similar (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Patients' perception of the quality of care received compared to their expected care in the emergency department.

A total of 86.6% (n = 715) of respondents gave positive overall impressions of the drive-through screening system compared to 3.0% (n = 25) responding negatively (Figure 3). In regard to convenience, 95.2% (n = 779) viewed the drive-through system as "more convenient than going to the emergency department," while 1.2% (n = 10) and 4.6% (n = 38) viewed it as "less" and "equivalently" convenient, respectively (Figure 4).

Figure 3.

Overall patient impression of drive-through systems for medical evaluations.

Figure 4.

Patients' impression of the convenience of the drive-through medical system compared to an emergency department visit.