i-doc Concierge launches drive-thru COVID treatment option out west
With Jamaica’s public healthcare system overwhelmed and under strain due to the steep rise in COVID-19 cases, western Jamaica-based i-doc Concierge Wellness Services has launched a drive-thru treatment option for persons exhibiting early symptoms of the deadly virus.
The initiative, which has seen approximately 100 persons benefitting from its services to date, started on August 26 and builds on the already existing COVID-19 testing service which the company currently offers. It is currently available at Elite Diagnostics in Drax Hall, St Ann; the Boardwalk Shopping Village in Negril, Westmoreland; and the Montego Bay Hospital in Mt Salem, St James.
As part of the drive-thru treatment service, persons remain in their vehicles while being tested, and those who test positive for COVID-19 stay seated while doctors prepare their treatment regimens to include medications, prescriptions, quarantine orders, and information packets on what they should do.
While the service is available to all members of the public, persons are encouraged to access it as members of the i-doc Concierge Wellness Health Club. This club’s membership includes an introductory sign-up fee of $1,000 for the membership health card and free access to a 24-hour telemedicine support centre that became operational on August 30.
Dr Sherridene Lee, the managing director of i-doc Concierge Wellness Services, said the drive-thru service follows up on the group’s past experience with early intervention for COVID-19 treatment in addition to giving the public-health system some much-needed reprieve.
“We were originally sending patients to their clinics or telling them to go home and that somebody from the health department would call them, but they would call us up five days later to say they had not received a call. Then we realised that the hospitals and clinics were overwhelmed with COVID cases, and if you were not severely ill, they would just send you home, and most times, without even a prescription,” said Lee.
“People would go home unsure as to what to do, with no proper guidelines, and so we realised we needed to do something to minimise the severe outcomes. With our belief in early treatment, we have treated patients early, even elderly patients, and they have survived, so based on our own interventions that we have done, we thought this initiative would be helpful to the general community,” Lee added.
The drive-thru treatment service offered by i-doc Concierge Wellness Services has found favour with Dr Delroy Fray, the clinical coordinator for the Western Regional Health Authority, who applauded the entity’s promotion of early COVID treatment, which, in-turn, can reduce hospitals’ patient loads.
“Any initiative that decreases patient loads in our hospitals is going to be beneficial. Apart from Baywest Wellness Centre [in Montego Bay], nobody else treats COVID as the other private hospitals do not have the set-up for it, plus you have to have staff to run that part of it, and if they identify a patient, they are going to send that patient to the hospital,” said Fray.
“Baywest Wellness Centre has been admitting and treating COVID patients, but they are limited in the numbers they can admit and keep. So any facility that can minimise the treatment in hospital is going to be useful, and if you are diagnosed with COVID very early, and you start early treatment, you can avoid a lot of hospital admissions, so from a clinical perspective, I would support any initiative like that,” Fray added.