DOC-Durham Tech Mobile Lab Wins IPE Award

By Susanne B. Haga, PhD


The DOC-Durham Tech Mobile Lab was awarded the Duke AHEAD 2024 Interprofessional Education (IPE) Team Excellence Award on March 22 at the annual Education Day. This award recognizes the “exceptional achievements in the coordination of learners, faculty, or staff as a team within the realm of educational activities.”  The DOC-Durham Tech Mobile Lab is a partnership that enables monthly home visits of patients limited in their ability to visit a clinic. The partnership is described as “learner-created, learner-led & learner-centered” by the DOC-Durham Tech Mobile Lab team.IPE Award

Launched in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of the program is to provide continuing care for patients, recognizing some patients’ inability or reluctance to visit in-person during this time.  Home visits are team-based and include a resident physician, allied health students and a social work intern. The participating clinic social work interns are from North Carolina Central University and the allied health students are from Durham Technical Community College.  The team is supervised by an interdisciplinary group of educators from both Duke and Durham Tech. The visits provide an invaluable learning experience for the team. 

“We are able to meet patients where they are and improve their access to care, ensure they are on the right medications, and get important diagnostic information that would be impossible to obtain without the van,” notes Garret Johnson, Duke Internal Medicine resident and team member.

 On an average session, the team schedules several home visits across Durham County and city. Visits typically include obtaining vitals, performing assessments (including electrocardiograms), and drawing labs, if needed.  The Durham Mobile Tech Lab program is coordinated by a group of DOC residents who take referrals from their colleagues at the clinic for patients in need. Once a patient is identified, the DOC residents coordinate with a patient's primary care provider regarding the purpose of the visit, with clinic nurse care manager Laurie Germino, clinic service access manager Heather Beau, and the patients to schedule the visits.   On the Durham Tech side, Whitney Young, EMT coordinates the health professions students and prepares the mobile health van for the visit.  Ms. Young drives the van and provides leadership and instructions for the Durham Tech students, who provide phlebotomy and ECG services.  If clinical testing is warranted, the group coordinates with Duke Laboratory Technician Angela Wilson Cross to process the samples for Duke Clinical Laboratories. 

The visits range from a brief check-in on the patient’s home environment and medications to a full home-based primary care visit. In some instances, these home visits can uncover issues that may not be disclosed or overlooked during an office visit. Reflecting on the personal benefits of the program, nurse practitioner team member Julia Gamble notes, “It is such a relief as a provider to be able to have access to an in-home opportunity for our more vulnerable clients to coordinate labs and clinical follow-up.  In addition to the lab follow-up, we've been able to coordinate vaccine access and assess home safety and potential needs for durable medical equipment.” IPE Award

Lastly, the project also engages learners to work collaboratively with key leaders and clinic staff in a different capacity than is typical during an office visit. The group is looking forward to expanding the team to include a Duke Occupational Therapy doctoral student capstone project.

The DOC-Durham Tech Mobile Lab Team:  Duke Internal Medicine residents: Garret Johnson, Sachi Oshima, Sarah Morgan, James Robert Davis, Yajaira Jimenez, Eric A. Wilson. Duke Outpatient Clinic staff: Laurie Germino (RN, Case Management), Angela Wilson (CLT, Laboratory), Heather Beau (Service Access Manager, PRMO). Duke educators: Jan Dillard (Clinical Social Work), Elissa Nickolopoulos (Clinical Social Work), Julia Gamble (Nurse Practitioner), Katherine Henderson (Chaplaincy), Alex Cho (Medicine). Durham Tech collaborators: Whitney Dawn Young (Paramedic, Director of Durham Tech Community Health Lab project), Griselle Guzman (Instructor, Phlebotomy and Cardiovascular).