COVID Update 01/04/2020

Hamilton is entering the active phase of community prevalent COVID 19. Many of you have made appreciable changes to how you provide care to your patients and embraced innovation with unheralded rapidity and receptivity. It is clear that we are now in for the “long haul,” and we will need to consider additional strategies to care for both our patients and our personal well-being. This brief read will provide a few concrete scenarios to consider. We hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to share!

  1. Provide virtual visits (phone or video) for the vast majority of your patients’ needs. We are building a collection of aids to assist you with virtual care of COVID specifically. This will be available within the week.
  2. Schedule your patients who require in person care consecutively and in a block, rather than scattered across your office hours.
  3. Provide a defined time of day for your “ill office visits.”
  4. Pool your patients. If you are in a group practice, consider having a doc of the day in the office and thus minimize both physician and staff exposure. All other docs would potentially provide virtual care from home. This can be pooled or each individual doc can address their respective patients’ needs.
  5. Bring only ONE patient into the office at a time. The patients should be asked to wait outside and provide a cell # (if possible) Call when the exam room is open and ask them to proceed.
  6. “Healthy in office care.” Try to book these on one particular day of the week when possible. This is not always possible, particularly in the case of babies needing 24-48 hour follow up.
  7. If you are in a group of 3 or more consider spacing your in-office care in 14 day intervals. Several offices have opted to have a “doc of the week” in office who then is “out of office” for the following 14 days. This utilizes social distancing and reduces personal risk of illness.
  8. Continue to PRESCREEN every patient and ensure that every patient sanitize before entering the office area.
  9. We have attached the most recent PHO Recommendations for Use of PPE. There are specific community guidelines within the document.
  10. Consider setting your staff up to work from home.
  11. NARCOTIC PRESCRIPTION CONTINUITY: It is essential that we each have a functional plan to ensure continuity of medications when clinically appropriate. This needs to be managed within each individual practice. Virtual care offers a potential solution.
  12. Please refer to this link regarding guidance on the use of PPE.

Thank you for your commitment, energy and continued willingness to innovate. Together we will get there!