By following key guidelines, physicians can confidently welcome patients back.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians must still be able to provide care unrelated to the virus. And while telehealth can help providers stay connected with patients, there is no substitute for in-person care.
The American Academy of Family Physicians understands the need to resume in-person care, but the organization is also aware that face-to-face visits may present different risks in various regions throughout the country. To help physicians determine whether the risks of reopening outweigh the benefits to the communities they serve, the AAFP recommends each physician consider factors unique to his or her region. These include:
- Access to personal protective equipment
- Availability of COVID-19 testing
- Prevalence of COVID-19 cases
- Recommendations from state-level health officials and governors
- Resources available to the practice, including finances, staff availability and telehealth capabilities
If you elect to reopen your practice, communicate with your patients about steps you have taken to protect them when in your office. These should include:
- Designated areas for healthy and sick patients
- Mask wearing
- Screening protocols
- Temperature checks for patients and staff
- Thorough sanitation measures
If possible, also try to minimize the things that people must touch. For example, prop doors open or install sensors so that doors will open automatically.