Doctors Change Office Practices During Coronavirus Outbreak
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, doctors’ offices are expected to change how they see -- or don’t see patients.
One of the big ways doctors are keeping themselves and patients safe is using more masks and gloves during exams of people showing symptoms for COVID-19. The gear is commonly referred to as PPEs or personal protection equipment.
They're also leaning into telemedicine, virtual visits and good old-fashioned phone calls to screen patients before having them into their offices or for visits that may not necessarily need hands on care.
The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Tuesday it would be encouraging healthcare providers and elderly patients to connect virtually, although it was unclear if all insurance companies cover telemedicine visits.
Dr. Eve Switzer says her practice in Enid, Northwest Pediatrics, is only seeing healthy patients and the so-called “worried well” in the morning and seeing sick or symptomatic patients in the afternoon hoping to prevent infecting the healthy who would normally cross paths with the sick.
“If they are fairly low risk from a history standpoint, we're going to go ahead and bring them in at a specific time and parents will be instructed to wait in their car and then call us instead of coming into the office to let us know they're here,” Switzer said in a skype interview. “The intention of that is to bring them directly into the office, into the exam room without having to spend any time hanging out in our waiting room.”
Doctors say the biggest thing is to be mindful that if you don't need to go to the doctor or if it's something that can wait, let it wait.