Forget the crowded doctor’s office visits of the past. The new reality is designed for the safety of patients and employees — and this new normal is in place for the foreseeable future.
In this era of COVID-19, Baptist Health’s primary care offices or family medicine centers have taken the necessary steps to reduce exposure. You won’t see crowded waiting rooms — actually, you may have the option of waiting in your car before being called into the clinical rooms at some locations. Medical personnel are staggering appointments to space out patients at primary care facilities to meet social distancing guidelines.
All urgent and non-urgent services at Baptist Health are open. And going to see your primary care physician or taking kids to their family practice or pediatrician is as crucial as ever, particularly for chronic condition maintenance and wellness visits. Pediatricians stress that’s it’s very important to keep up with your child’s vaccination schedule to protect them from harmful diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
“The most important thing is for everyone to stay healthy, both parents and children, and that includes regular checkups and follow-ups, particularly for those with underlying health issues,” said Javier Hiriart, M.D., a pediatrician and physician with Baptist Health Primary Care, Family Medicine Center at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. “We understand that people are concerned but we’ve taken many measures to make it safe for everyone.”
Before entering your doctor’s office, you will notice that symptom and temperature screening is in place. When you enter the doctor’s office, you might notice installed protective plastic partitions at the front desks of many of the reception areas.
You’ll likely also see temporary partitions between chairs for waiting inside, if this is your preference. These new barriers are designed to guard against droplets from coughs or sneezes.
There has also been a reduction in the available seating to allow for social distancing. To learn more about the safety precautions, go to Baptist Health’s Patient & Visitor Safety website. If you have questions about safety measures, you can also call ahead to your doctor’s office.
“Patients understand that these measures may be somewhat inconvenient, but they welcome these changes because they understand it’s for the safety of them and their families, as well as our caregivers,” says Deepa Sharma, D.O., a family medicine physician with Baptist Health Primary Care, Family Medicine Center at West Kendall Baptist Hospital.
Of course, face masks are required, or will likely be provided at your doctor’s office. Moreover, the patient registration process is contactless at Baptist Health facilities. Prior to your visit, your doctor’s office can collect your pre-visit forms, signatures and any applicable payments virtually by phone or on your personal device.
“Another important component: any items that are high-touch, like magazines and coffee stations — we have moved all of those things from our lobbies,” explained Nancy Batista-Rodriguez, CEO of Baptist Outpatient Services, in a Baptist HealthTalk podcast. “All of the high touch areas within our clinical settings are being cleaned at a very regular basis. So, again, as you walk into the lobby it is going to feel and look different, but it’s all being done, of course, for the safety of our patients, our physicians, and our staff.”
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Now more than ever, it’s important to establish a relationship with a primary care doctor – someone who will get to know you and your healthcare needs. Baptist Health Primary Care providers can help guide and manage your overall health and wellness, both in-person and through virtual visits. Our doctors and advanced practitioners aid in the early detection of disease and long-term health problems, help address any worrisome symptoms, manage chronic conditions, prescribe medications and advise on achieving overall health goals. Should you require specialized care, we provide access to Baptist Health’s comprehensive network of expert physicians and resources, keeping your health at the heart of what we do.