Changing the Way We Deliver Care -

The daily routine of medical practice has changed.  For several months patients deferred visits to their physicians for fear of contracting Covid-19 and the idea that most clinics would be overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.  While the volume of clinic visits declined significantly due to those fears, most diagnoses of Covid-19 are made in the outpatient setting of physician offices. (Study)

The pandemic has rocked the financial bedrock of healthcare for small or solo practice. During this pandemic, many patients have chosen to defer or forgo medical visits at a high cost for reimbursement to these practices.  Many physicians had to furlough long time employees from their administrative staff. In some cases even employed physicians were furloughed or terminated. Some of these medical clinics were eligible for the CARES act, which will supplement payroll expenses.  However ongoing expenses, leases, malpractice insurance, health insurance premiums, operating expenses rapidly drained cash reserves.

Some of the changes that have occurred rapidly are the use of telehealth, remote monitoring, and new procedures for patient visits that use online appointments, preregistration, and even messaging systems that instruct waiting patients in their car as to when they can enter the office. This improves efficiency and perhaps will remain a standard for patient-centered medical care.

Gradually as social distancing decreases when the pandemic becomes more controlled new protocols will remain in place.

The lack of personal protective equipment is not quite as acute as several months ago. Both patients and providers have better access to masks.