Telemedicine in the Time of COVID-19
There’s no denying that our world has changed drastically in the last few weeks. As members of the healthcare field, we’ve seen the far reaches of this virus and have been lucky to have the means to adjust accordingly. Over the last three weeks, we have made some significant changes in how we operate to align with all necessary social distancing guidelines and to minimize interpersonal contact while still providing our patients the care and attention they need and deserve.
Keeping the Community Safe
First and foremost, SDCA has gone to great efforts to assist a large portion of our staff to work from home. The remaining team here at the heart center and outlying satellite offices are taking every precaution to protect ourselves from each other and create a safe place for patients while using distancing and appropriate PPE.
Video House Calls
As part of our rapid shift, we moved as many of our visits as possible to our newly implemented Video House Call program. After three weeks, we’ve seen great success in reducing the number of people entering the building, allowing us to protect a much higher number of patients from potential COVID exposure. In the first few days of this program alone, we did 49 calls in the second week that ramped up to 200, and this week we’re conducting over 300 video calls with our Doctors and Nurse practitioners.
We’ve been thrilled to see the success of this program grow, but there will always be some limitations. Some of those limitations are at the hands of technology. If the patient doesn’t have adequate video or audio capabilities on their computer, we might be able to accommodate a phone visit. Still, there will always be instances where the patient needs to be seen in person for a thorough and accurate examination. In those cases, we are keeping the clinic safe, clean, and in congruence with the CDC and WHO guidelines.
Another way we are limiting people in the building and creating a safe environment for our patients is our new Drive Up Anticoagulation Clinic. This clinic is for patients who must have their INR or blood thickness checked routinely. Since we have fewer patients in our building, that means we have more space in our parking lot to have a drive-up clinic. We have a 10×10 tent staffed with a lab tech and RN’s.
Patients drive up, park, and come into the tent to get their finger pricked and tested. It only takes a few seconds to get the results to the nurses. After the finger prick, patients return to their car, where the nurses deliver results and any additional instructions. Before they leave, their next appointment is scheduled and they’re good to go. All this in less than 5 minutes!
COVID-19 has challenged the way we’ve always done things, and we are proud of the way we’ve been able to adapt and innovate. As we move forward, through this virus’ impact and beyond, we are continually working to anticipate our patients’ needs and provide the best quality service through as many channels as possible. If you’re wondering about your heart health during this time, don’t hesitate to call us at 303-744-1065 to speak to a nurse or schedule an appointment. If a Video House Call is best for you, we will provide instructions on how to set up your Video House Call visit. We’re here to help keep you healthy in every way we can.
Learn more about our Video House Calls
As with any health concerns, your specific treatment program should be discussed thoroughly with your primary care physician as well as any specialists who may need to be consulted – like a cardiologist.Video House Calls