How Your Doctor’s Appointments Are Changing During COVID-19

While some states have halted or suspended reopening, here in New York we are now happy to be allowed to see our doctors and dentists again. I did, and I have to admit that there was something oddly calming about going through typical medical procedures and exams that didn’t involve the word “COVID.”

My recent experiences at the doctor involved a dental checkup I had scheduled for December (greeting: “So, doc, what’s up?”) And my annual physical (which admittedly included an antibody test as well). Nothing was too much surprising about appointments in our new pandemic world – staff wore considerable PPE and several masks / shields, the doctor’s appointment was much more of an interview about how I felt than a tactile ‘check’ ( except for a blood pressure test and a blood sample) and my dentist had switched to an older method of cleaning teeth that sent out less aerosol.

The waiting rooms were more shielded from close interactions and completely lacked magazines, and any pen I touched I could keep. Disadvantage: I was hit by the additional $ 15 PPE fee.

Realizing that my experience in New York City might not reflect medical procedures everywhere, I interviewed more than two dozen medical professionals across the country about how they cope with coronavirus-free appointments. Below is a sample of their responses.

No more preselection

“We sent our patients a digital questionnaire the day before their visit to see if they had symptoms of COVID-19,” says the Beverly Hills-based dentist. Dr Kourosh Maddahi, DDS. “And each patient should also have their temperature taken and recorded outside our office before going through the door.”

Less direct interaction once arrived

“When patients first arrive outside our office, they call us to let them know they’re here,” says Dr. Jared Cox of Today’s Family Dentistry in Searcy, AR. “And we have redesigned our entrance and waiting area to ensure the safety and distance of patients when they enter the practice. The office is also investing heavily in contactless doors.

More air purification technology

“Every area of ​​our office is now equipped with a device to constantly clean the air in the room,” says Dr. Kenneth Magid DDS FICD, located in Westchester County, NY. “These devices return the room air every eight minutes and pass it through a series of filters, UV-C lamps and titanium dioxide elements, creating ‘surgically clean air’ in every room. . To deal with the aerosol problem that is common in dentistry, the Magid practice has also added “extra-oral suction devices” placed near the face.

Dr. Magid’s practice also involves “misting” each chamber and each practitioner between patients with HOCL (hypochlorous acid) to kill viruses and bacteria.

Lasers are the future

“The most recent procedure is laser cleaning,” says Dr. Todd Bertman of the Advanced Dental Arts of New York. “Traditional cleanings create aerosols – water droplets containing bacteria and viruses sprayed into the air during a basic cleaning. Laser cleanings produce no aerosols. We also use lasers to treat gum disease.

Telehealth is here to stay

“We are seeing a major shift towards virtual and online care for the first point of contact, including triage and onboarding,” said Ted Chan, CEO of CareDash, a physician review site. “And insurance information is now collected over the phone or through web forms rather than in person.

An interesting start-up to watch here: To tend to, a doctor’s office specializing in virtual visits but also home visits (where you could very well get a visit to your well-ventilated backyard).

Surprisingly, the same level of service (if you are tested)

“If patients are tested 48 hours before their appointment and are negative for COVID-19, we can perform all procedures with the added protection,” says Dr. Pia Lieb DDS, founder of the Cosmetic Dentistry Center NYC.

Your children will be kept at a distance

Realizing that these are stressful times for children too, Dr Catalina Botero, DDS, of Li’l Sunshine Smiles Dentistry in Tampa, FL schedules FaceTime visits without a mask before seeing patients in person. “This way you can hear the concerns of your patient and their caregivers. We also recommend it because if this is the kid’s first time in your office, they shouldn’t see you for the first time with a face mask, ”she says. Dr Botero also admits that they are more likely to postpone elective procedures if it is deemed safe.

Interestingly enough, the doctor also puts a new emphasis on decorating the office. “People are significantly more stressed and anxious during this time, so investing in upbeat music, warm colors, and cheerful art has the ability to make patients a little happier when they are in your office, especially if those patients are are children, ”she said.

But really, it’s a change we can all live with.

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