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Access to Care in the Era of Pandemic

Shah Leader Headshot updatedAccess to Care in the Era of Pandemic

Written by: Dr. Dhrumil Shah

Communities are advised to practice 'Social Distancing' while essential industries, including Healthcare, are being tasked to increase capacity and to redesign the model of care to help us battle this pandemic across the nation. As this ongoing uncertainty continues around what the new normal will be for our society, we continue to see an increasing need to rethink how we access Healthcare today. In a recent press conference, the Massachusetts governor urged residents to seek medical attention for non-COVID medical conditions as appropriate.

Advances in technology have made the adoption of Telemedicine almost universal in recent weeks. Evolving science around this pandemic has made us all vigilant around infection control measures inside and outside of Healthcare. The age of social media, with connected devices across the globe, has given us access to information and one another, like never before. 

So, how do we get or deliver access to the right type of care at the right place & at the right time to our communities?

Perhaps TIME will tell us these answers comprehensively, as we establish our 'New Normal'. Here at Compass Medical, we are working tirelessly to do our share as part of this community for the path ahead. To keep our patients and our team healthy during this pandemic, we are continually redesigning our processes and establishing alternatives for better access to care. Telemedicine is a powerful tool that allows our Providers to see their patients who qualify for a remote visit. For care that requires an in-person visit, we have implemented infection control measures to ensure the safety of our staff and patients. All of our waiting rooms are empty, as our locations advise patients to wait in their cars before entering the buildings to ensure proper precautions are taken. All of our patients have their temperature taken prior to any visit, as do our employees and providers prior to working. All of our febrile or respiratory patients are seen in a separate location from our other patients to mitigate any contamination. Our disinfectant processes are stellar and all of our Providers, employees, and patients are required to wear masks for optimal safety.

If Telemedicine is not desired by the patient, or feasible due to limitations, or adequate for proper medical evaluation, the next option would be an in-person appointment. In these types of situations, our local hospitals and emergency rooms should not be the only option available for our communities, especially for non-emergency cases. Many offices have closed their physical buildings due to various reasons during this pandemic, and it becomes incumbent upon all the other ambulatory healthcare facilities and providers to remain accessible safely and diligently to help facilitate COVID and Non-COVID care as appropriate.

A Guided patient journey is crucial, especially within Healthcare in this time of need, as uncertainty around risk and exposure continues to be a major challenge we all navigate judiciously. We are extremely proud that many of our team members, including call center staff, chronic care management nurses, clinical triage staff & our administrative and clinical staff and of course, our providers, have assumed the role of helping our patients navigate through this difficult time while continuing to provide care with the utmost compassion.

Hopefully, we can all lucidly reflect on this current state of transitioning from "Healing Touch" to "Digital Caring" in the midst of this pandemic and return to a balanced environment where both can co-exist for the betterment of our communities.

A MEMBER OF STEWARD HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

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