Health Care Edition 2020
exposure by reducing visitors and visiting hours. Hospitals also limited entrances. “We screen everyone coming into the building; doctors, CEOs, nurses, visitors, everyone gets screened,” Vartian said. “We also have univer- sal masking, and every single person has been wearing masks for weeks throughout the hospital.” Neighbors Emergency Centers also adapted its processes to limit expo- sure. Cotton said everyone wears a mask as soon as they enter the facility, and there has been a focus on getting patients to a room as quickly as possi- ble so there is nobody waiting in the lobby. “We are promoting that people call ahead if they need reassurances in terms of whether they should come in,” Cotton said. “We can also register them quickly and can get them right to a bed. That’s how we’ve been tak- ing care of it as we’ve been setting up a telehealth platform.” Long-termchanges HCA Houston Healthcare is begin- ning to reopen scheduling for elective
procedures; the past months have required an absolute focus on those who could not wait for care, but Var- tian said sta ff is slowly rolling back toward normal. Vivian Ho, Rice University’s health economics chair, said telehealth is here to stay. Elderly and vulnerable patients will not be able to go out and resume normal daily life until a vac- cine is available, which Ho said will lead to providers being pushed to fi g- ure out how to streamline electronic medical records. Conly-Harvey said the Kelsey-Sey- bold virtual doctor appointments had been available for several years, but the pandemic emphasized how vital having that platform already estab- lished was. “It was just a small portion of doc- tors that were doing it before, but I think there is a portion of people who have found they like the video visits and will always want it available,” Conly-Harvey said. Janis also said having the infra- structure in place was important, and Kelsey-Seybold had been in the process of extending virtual services
to more specialists before COVID-19 accelerated their plan. Additionally, he said there was a chance wearing masks and checking temperatures when sta ff and patients enter a clinic may remain a policy in some iteration going forward. “From an infection control stand- point, this will change how people think about the spread of diseases, especially with seeing how much trouble people are having with PPE, hand sanitizer, all these things that have always been accessible before,” Cotton said. “More and more ways to do things digitally from beginning to end will be developed, from fol- low-up to people accessing their own records.” Cotton reiterated people can always call ahead to an emergency room. “If you would have gone to the emergency room pre-COVID, you should go to the ER,” Cotton said. “We want tomake sure we’re taking care of the communities we’re in.” Hunter Marrow and Emma Whalen contributed to this report.
SOURCE: NEIGHBORS EMERGENCY ROOM, KELSEY - SEYBOLD / COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER changes to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Here are some of the things being done to keep sta ff and patients safe. STOP THE SPREAD Hospitals, doctor’s o ffi ces and emergency rooms have implemented
• Wearing masks • Purchasing personal
• Limiting visitors
For more information, visit communityimpact.com .
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