Changes You Should Be Aware Of At Your Doctor’s Office Due to COVID-19

Mature Woman In Consultation With Female Doctor Sitting On Examination Couch In Office

In this time of COVID-19, you will be seeing a number of changes when you go to your doctor’s office. Here are some changes that you will see so that you can be prepared and confident about your upcoming appointment. 

  • Telemedicine options – When you make your appointment, you may be offered the option of doing a visit from your home. This could be a phone call or a video call. Think about whether a remote visit could work for your situation.
  • Reminder calls – Many offices are using the reminder call to get an updated status on your health. They may ask if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu. This will help them to prepare for your visit if you are concerned about exposure to the virus.
  • Signs at the entrance – Look for communication about prevention practices happening at your doctor’s office (wearing a mask, social distancing, etc.) and follow the requests. Staff may also be at the entrance and may take your temperature or ask about your current symptoms.
  • Waiting room supplies Extra disinfecting supplies and trash cans will be available. Make use of supplies if you need them. Extra cleaning for magazines, toys, etc will be taking place, but be proactive when you use these items. Clean the item when you are finished using them with the supplied wipes, etc.
  • Limit non-patient visitors – Only people who are part of the appointment should be in the office. This will minimize the number of people gathering in the medical facility.
  • Providing separation for patients with symptoms – If a patient is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the staff will provide a prompt placement in a private room.
  • The exam room – After each patient visit, the facility will use EPA-registered disinfectant on the counters, seating, and exam table. Be assured that your health is protected at this point as well. Go ahead and have a candid conversation with your doctor about your medical concerns as you would at any visit. 
  • After-visit summary – Take home any information that the doctor provides at the end of your visit. These first visits during COVID-19 can be stressful, and this paperwork will help to remind you of what you discussed, course of treatment, and the necessary follow up for you.

These changes are new for all of us, so don’t worry if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed at your next doctor’s visit. The staff is there to assist you and answer any questions that you may have. So speak up if you need some help, and don’t be shy about bringing questions that you have thought about in advance. This will ensure that you are making the most of your visit, and taking the proper precautions to stay safe.

To stay up to date on the latest information on COVID-19, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog. We have several upcoming articles that deal specifically with COVID-19 in the healthcare industry. If you are interested in learning more about different areas of healthcare, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy. If you are interested in enrolling in our healthcare courses, you can view our courses here. Our courses are in a self-paced online format, so this is a great time to take that step for your career.

Health and Your Pets: How to Keep Your Pets Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

couple-sitting-on-couch-while-white-poodle-sits-in-front-of-them-and-man-holds-dark-cat=on-lap

The case of a cat getting sick from COVID in Belgium and the sick tigers at the Bronx Zoo have made many cat owners worried about the potential threat to their beloved animals. There have also been cases of dogs testing positive for COVID but none, so far, have been sick. In all cases, the animals caught the virus from an infected human; there’s no evidence of cat to human transmission. However, experiments show that cats can transmit COVID to each other.

So, how much should you worry and what should you do?

What is the Risk to Your Pets?

Of the small sample of pets tested so far, none of the dogs had symptoms. Most of the cats also had no symptoms, and those that did experienced only mild illness. So far, there is no indication that there is a risk of a dog or cat dying or becoming seriously ill.

The only animals infected so far were all in close contact (i.e., same household) with a human with COVID-19.

What Should You Do to Protect Your Pets?

First of all, don’t panic. Although it is theoretically possible for a human to be exposed to COVID through a cat, there is no evidence that this has happened.

Second, take the following precautions:

  1. Keep your cat indoors (as you should anyway). Indoor/outdoor cats should be confined for the duration. If your cat is leash trained, take them for a walk but keep them away from other cats, dogs, and people.
  2. Walk your dog at a distance from other dogs or people. Even if dog parks are open, avoid them. Keep your dog home from day care.
  3. Have someone else care for your pet if you have been exposed to COVID-19. If you have COVID-19, or you suspect that you may have COVID-19, have somebody else take care of your pet temporarily, until you are given the all clear. Don’t pet, snuggle, or kiss your cat or dog until you have completely recovered. If you are quarantining in one room, keep your pets out of the room that you have chosen for your quarantine.

Keeping your pets safe during this time is as important as keeping yourself safe. Thankfully, infection of pets is rare and has yet to result in serious illness, so don’t worry, but do keep your pets away from other households at this time, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more informative healthcare articles, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To take a healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

male doctor with female patient in hospital

Is There a Doctor in the House? – Healthcare Trends for 2019

In-home nursing care has been available for decades to those unable to make the journey to their doctor’s office or clinic for daily or weekly care. Medication prepackaging, dressing changes, or follow-up visits after surgery, to help doctors manage chronic or acute illness, and end-of-life care are all services available to homebound patients by a registered nurse. A house call from your doctor was common before the 1950s but had become increasingly rare since that time. This is changing as more and more house calls are made by doctors and other advanced healthcare practitioners. These visits are expected to continue to expand into 2019 and beyond.

Value-Based Care

Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance companies have increased their reimbursement to include home visits by healthcare practitioners offering financial incentives, and in some cases requiring these real-time assessments before homecare companies are paid for the care delivered. Face-to-face doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner visits for assessments and re-certification of needs, help at-home patients manage their care when they are unable to travel to and from the office.

Best Practices

For years, doctors relied on the visiting nurse to be their eyes and ears when it came to assessing homebound patients. The nurse gathered information and made their own determination about patients needs, and physical or emotional wellness, and conveyed the patient’s needs to the doctor as objectively as possible. The doctor or healthcare practitioner made decisions for the patient based on the information presented. But nurses aren’t doctors. Best practice means that the most effective and most practical treatment options are ordered based on a real-time evaluation of the patient.

Putting Patient Needs First

There are many business and personal rewards for healthcare practitioners who put the patient’s needs first.

  • Saving patients and their families the pain, exhaustion, and expense of specialized travel just for a checkup or medication refill builds strong bonds between the patient and the caregiver.
  • Ensuring that the standards for best practices are met, by seeing the patient in person to evaluate their care needs, builds trust between patients, doctors, and families.
  • Home visits reduce in-office care costs and offer financial incentives for doctors and other healthcare practitioners to see the patient at home.
  • Patients receive timely care, reducing the number of visits to the emergency room or hospital, and in turn, increasing the pay rates for doctors and other healthcare practitioners who choose to visit the patient at home.

As patient-centered healthcare continues to evolve in 2019, we will all reap the benefits of individualized care tailored to our specific needs. Building trustworthy, cost-effective, and readily available healthcare that meets the standards of best practice means that you benefit, your family benefits, and your doctor benefits. Watch for a future article on healthcare best practices, so that you will know what to expect from your doctor, as well as other healthcare practitioners, in terms of your short-term and long-term medical care.

To learn more about healthcare today, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy .

To read more informative articles on healthcare, visit the Avidity Medical Design blog .

The Early Days of Ebola vs. HIV: Similarities and Differences

In the early 1980’s a new disease entered the U.S. that had doctors scrambling to find answers. A number of gay men in both New York and California were experiencing treatment resistant diseases and cancers that were extremely uncommon. Luckily, doctors were able to relate the diverse presentations of the new disease fairly quickly. In the early days, this disease didn’t have a name. Today, we know it as Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. To put U.S. cases of HIV in perspective, currently the CDC

“estimates that 1,144,500 persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection, including 180,900 (15.8%) who are unaware of their infection1.”

ebola vs. hiv: similarities and differencesWith new cases of Ebola presenting in the U.S., it is important to compare our handling of patients to that of the early days of the HIV outbreak. When we look at Ebola vs. HIV: similarities and differences, we can find ways to improve our initial response thereby gaining better control of the spread of diseases with no currently known cure and high death rates.

Misinformation in the early days of HIV caused many to believe that only gay men need fear the infection. Since then, we have learned differently. Many of the early cases of HIV could have been prevented had we known about the danger to our blood supply and had a more complete understanding of how HIV spreads. Currently Ebola is on the tipping point between those who want to believe it is “someone else’s disease” and those who fear contracting it from any stranger they meet. This combination of fear and denial is the perfect atmosphere to create larger spread of the infection. Although Ebola does not hide in a person’s system creating the risk of invisible carriers, its early symptoms are flu-like. We live in a country that is very used to going to work when they are ill. Ebola becomes contagious once symptoms present so denial is a dangerous attitude. Until real, truthful information on prevention is widely understood, diseases are far harder to contain.

Early treatment is also very important. Luckily, we have known options for the treatment of Ebola. We have been developing medications to battle the outbreak in Africa for some time and feel that we understand how to fight the illness. Advances in these treatments are already in development. This differs greatly from early treatment of HIV where doctors were forced to try options based on best guesses pulled from incomplete evidence. Had we been studying the HIV virus for as long as we have been studying Ebola, we would have had much better chances to minimize its effects on our population.

Avidity Medical Design currently has a comprehensive course under development to explore this topic in more detail. Be one of the first 100 students to enroll and get a 50% discount. Contact us for more details. Early knowledge and understanding is the key to treating illness before it can become an epidemic.