Think about this as expanding in-person care, rather than returning to in-person care. For the foreseeable future, and maybe longer, many practices will be hybrid models providing both virtual and in-person care. Visualize them on a spectrum – virtual care on one end, and in-person care on the other.
Physicians decide where our future state lies within the parameters of safe and effective care.
Now and in the future, many of us will fall somewhere along this spectrum. Over time we will move further right along the spectrum based on our comfort levels. If a second wave flows in, we may revert back to more care delivered virtually.
Many factors will contribute to an individual physician’s position along the spectrum:
A key factor in where we sit on this spectrum is the availability of PPE. As per guidance from the College, if you do not have appropriate PPE, you are not expected to put yourself, your staff, your colleagues, and your patients at risk. Your ability to access PPE in your community office will vary from region to region and sometimes even from time-to-time owing to complex global factors. Therefore, the type of, number of, and method of how services are delivered either in-person or virtually will vary as well.
As we gradually expand in-person care, we have the opportunity to reflect and learn from our pre-COVID days and consider what we’d like to improve upon, and what should stay the same. Many physicians will want to maintain some level of virtual care—what will that level be for you? Will you continue to use telephone fees? Maybe even consider group visits?
There are some general concepts we should all keep in mind:
And there are some more specific thoughts to consider as in-person appointments are increased:
Official guidelines for physicians to re-open clinics can be found below: