Many parts of the U.S. are experiencing increases in COVID-19 cases. There's evidence to suggest that trend is going to continue and possibly get worse. Some health conditions put people into a high-risk category for developing more severe COVID-19 illness. This includes hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Patients with both cardiovascular disease and cancer may be at significantly increased risk of experiencing worse outcomes related to COVID-19 infection. Studies have shown that those patients had a significantly higher risk of contracting a more serious illness, requiring ICU admission or ventilation, and are at higher risk of dying from the disease. Also, the changing conditions of maintaining social distancing & remote working have put people into a frenzy affecting their mental health and physical health.
Here are some tips that medical professionals and institutions can follow to assure their patients’ safety during the pandemic surge and other changing conditions:
- Stay up-to-date on the best ways to manage patients with COVID-19.
- Separate patients with fever, respiratory symptoms, or other symptoms so they are not waiting among other patients seeking care. Identify a separate, well-ventilated space that allows waiting patients and visitors to be separated.
- Get Vaccinated against COVID-19 and maintain other prevention measures for you and your patients.
- Consider the strategies to prevent patients who can be cared for at home from coming to your facility potentially exposing themselves or others to germs, like:
- Using your telephone system to deliver messages to incoming callers about when to seek medical care at your facility, when to seek emergency care, and where to go for information about caring for a person with COVID at home.
- Adjusting your hours of operation to include telephone triage and follow-up of patients during a community outbreak.
- Leveraging telemedicine technologies such as telehealth, online messaging, EHR & PHR, and self-assessment tools.
Masks and Hand Sanitizer
- Masks for Staff: All staff wear masks. The type of mask staff members wear is determined by the type of care they provide, to best ensure their safety and the safety of our patients.
- Masks for Patients and Visitors: All patients and anyone with them will be asked to wear a mask or cloth face covering while in our health care facilities. They may bring their own, or if they don’t have one, face masks should be made available at each entrance,
- Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer should be available at each entrance and at numerous locations throughout each building. Everyone is asked to sanitize their hands when they enter the building. In addition, each member of the health care staff should sanitize their hands before and after each patient encounter.
Screening and Testing
- Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms: All patients and visitors should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Patients should be contacted by the clinic prior to an appointment to ask whether they are experiencing any symptoms. In addition, when they arrive for their appointment, he/she and anyone with them also needs to be asked about any cough, fever, and other symptoms of respiratory virus infection that they or others in their household may be experiencing. Staff should also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms each day.
- COVID-19 Testing: All patients admitted to hospitals should be tested for COVID-19., as well as any patient scheduled for surgery, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms. Patients should be admitted to designated units based on their test results.
Cleaning, Reorganization, and Check-In Options
- Common Areas: Areas such as waiting rooms, lobbies, and restrooms need to be cleaned often with special attention to frequently touched surfaces including doorknobs, armrests, and handrails.
- Exam Rooms: These should be fully cleaned and disinfected between each patient.
- Floor Markings and Furniture Rearrangement: Special arrangements to be made to support social distancing. There need to be markers on the floors to show where people should stand for check-in and check-out. Furniture should be rearranged in some waiting areas to create more space between patients, and scheduling appointments to ensure that fewer people are visiting clinics at any given time.
- Waiting Room Organization: Waiting rooms should be organized to keep patients with respiratory symptoms separate from patients receiving other types of care. Special arrangements to be made for patients being evaluated for COVID-19 or possible COVID-19 to arrive through a specific process and be immediately settled into a private exam room to reduce the chances of other patients being exposed to the virus.
- E-Check-In: Many clinics are offering E-check-in to further limit the exposure to others, and some clinics are offering patients the option to wait outside or in their vehicle for their appointment to begin.
If you or your medical center is seeking guidance and a detailed strategy on providing services seamlessly ensuring patient safety with security, following the socially distanced norms of the Covid-19 pandemic, then look no further and reach out to us on our PatientMD platform.
As a physician-led organization and a healthcare practice technology company, our focus at PatientMD lies in growing your practice and improving profitability with a solid return on your investment. With physicians facing fierce competition, it is critical to run our practices as a business to maintain growth and profitability. In this modern era, technology will play an important role. Physicians will need to leverage technology to engage with their patients, improve the patient experience, reduce practice inefficiencies while growing and marketing their practice. However, managing technology from multiple companies can be a nightmare. At PatientMD, our technology platform will serve as your one-stop shop to grow your practice, engage with your patients, improve the patient experience while improving office efficiency.