Safety Considerations for Visiting Primary Care Doctors

Rutgers expert warns not to delay visits and offers solutions to stay safe when seeing your physician in person

Newswise — The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people with chronic health conditions relying on telemedicine rather than seeing their doctor in person when necessary or putting off important visits entirely because they fear being infected.

Ann M. Nguyen, an assistant research professor at Rutgers Center for State Health Policy at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, who recently published a paper on safety measures at physician offices, discusses what people should know about visiting their doctor and why putting off appointments that need to be done in person could lead to other health problems.

What can patients do to assess the safety of their doctor’s office when making an appointment?
The physician’s office should be appointment-only and have clear safety protocols posted online, outside of their office or described over the phone. While making an appointment, the office staff should walk patients through those safety protocols, such as asking them to wear a mask to the in-person visit and to come alone unless a companion is necessary for their physical or emotional health. Staff should ask COVID-19 screening questions over the phone. Any information that can be collected over the phone or online, such as insurance information, should be done before the appointment.

What are doctors’ offices doing to ensure safety during in-person visits?
Contact is limited as much as possible. Intake forms are completed online or over the phone. Offices offer early-morning appointments for high-risk patients to lessen exposure, discourage or stop walk-in appointments and stagger in-person visits to allow time for rooms and equipment to be cleaned.

Patients wait outside or in their car until the doctor is ready to see them. While they wait, an office staff member asks COVID-19 screening questions and checks their temperature. The office staff member also offers to do part of the visit at the curbside or in the parking lot if possible, such taking blood pressure. If patients must go into a waiting room, the offices limit the number of people to allow for social distancing. During the visit, office staff and the doctor maintain a six-foot distance when possible. Equipment and rooms are marked as sanitized. Hand sanitizer is available. Everyone in the office is wearing personal protective equipment, including other patients.

What precautions should people take for lab work?
Patients should call labs before booking appointments since many have slowed response times and capacity or have focused on coronavirus testing. People with chronic conditions especially should ask the labs and/or their doctors for tips on the best times to visit and how the lab separates patients seeking routine lab work from those with appointments for coronavirus testing.

How have doctors’ offices otherwise restructured operations for safety?
Following every patient visit, the equipment and examination rooms are sanitized. To reduce contact, offices have set up patient portals for questions. Doctor’s office staff who can perform their jobs at home are not in the office. Also, since primary care clinics need to have a close pulse on their community, they can keep in direct communication with local and state health agencies to monitor evolving conditions.

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 4219
Released: 4-Dec-2020 4:30 PM EST
New review confirms disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Hispanic populations
Oregon Health & Science University

Black and Hispanic populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to a systematic review published this week.

Newswise: 250647_web.jpg
Released: 4-Dec-2020 4:05 PM EST
For nationalistic regimes, similar COVID-19 policies are the sincerest form of flattery
University of Texas at Arlington

Analysis from a University of Texas at Arlington assistant professor of public policy suggests that nationalistic governments around the globe are more likely to copy other nationalistic governments in responding to the current pandemic.

Released: 4-Dec-2020 3:15 PM EST
New Study Finds Once Hospitalized, Black Patients with COVID-19 Have Lower Risk of Death than White Patients
NYU Langone Health

A team of investigators at NYU Langone Health has found that once hospitalized, Black patients (after controlling for other serious health conditions and neighborhood income) were less likely to have severe illness, die, or be discharged to hospice compared to White patients.

Released: 4-Dec-2020 2:35 PM EST
AANA Commends CDC on Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Healthcare Personnel
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) commends the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC's) team of advisors on prioritizing frontline healthcare personnel and residents of long-term facilities for the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Released: 4-Dec-2020 1:50 PM EST
COVID-19 in Victorian schools and childcare mainly driven by community transmission
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Analysis of Victorian data by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute suggests that COVID-19 cases in schools and childcare were mainly driven by community transmission

Released: 4-Dec-2020 12:20 PM EST
Identifying markers of COVID-19 infection using blood tests
University of Seville

Researchers from the Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBIS) have presented a study carried out in the Clinical Biochemistry Service of the Virgen del Rocío University Hospital which identifies the values for six biochemical biomarkers that indicate a patient may be infected with SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19).

Released: 4-Dec-2020 12:05 PM EST
Research confirms crucial monitoring assessment is effective for patients with COVID-19
University of Portsmouth

A combined research team from the Universities of Portsmouth and Bournemouth and Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust has shown that an assessment score used to measure a patient's severity of illness can be applied to patients with Covid-19 without modification.

Newswise:Video Embedded flccc-alliance-calls-on-national-health-authorities-to-immediately-review-medical-evidence-showing-the-efficacy-of-ivermectin-for-the-prevention-of-covid-19-and-as-an-early-outpatient-treatment
Released: 4-Dec-2020 12:00 PM EST
FLCCC Alliance Calls on National Health Authorities to Immediately Review Medical Evidence Showing the Efficacy of Ivermectin for the Prevention of COVID-19 and as an Early Outpatient Treatment
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC Alliance)

“Following the swi. review— and subsequent guidance— by the NIH and theCDC of Ivermectin, we expect that Ivermectin’s widespread, immediate use willallow for a rapid and safe re-opening of businesses and schools across the nation—and quickly reduce the strain on overwhelmed ICUs.” —FLCCC Alliance

Released: 4-Dec-2020 11:50 AM EST
Immunity passports: Ethical conflict and opportunity
University of the Basque Country

Immunity passports are a means of registering whether an individual has developed immunity to COVID-19 and is therefore unlikely to either catch or spread the disease.

Showing results

110 of 4219