TR: How are patients currently feeling about telemedicine and in-person appointments?
Dr. Bose: Pandemic fatigue is real and affects all of us to varying extents. Most of our patients feel comfortable with telemedicine and some want to retain this service even after the pandemic. Some patients are worried about their immune system and the risk to others.
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Explore This IssueJanuary 2021
However, we also have patients who prefer in-office visits. Some of them are not comfortable with technology, and some feel that a true doctor visit must include in-person interaction. Overall, patients and physicians have adjusted to the pandemic in different ways to try and keep everyone healthy.
TR: How are reopening plans developing for rheumatology clinics? What changes have been made to resume in-person appointments?
Dr. Bose: We are reopening very carefully. We are trying to balance televisits with in-person visits to minimize the number of people on our premises. We are taking great care to sanitize the office, exam rooms and equipment to the extent possible and mandating universal facemask wearing for patients and staff. We are also trying to limit the number of family members accompanying patients to their visits.
We have plans in place in the event there is an increase in case load and we need to change to virtual care completely.
TR: What are you looking forward to doing after the pandemic is over?
Dr. Bose: I miss social interactions—with my patients, staff, friends and family. I’m looking forward to getting together with friends again, going on vacation, in-person shopping and an overall return to normalcy. I value being able to chat with our staff and patients.
I’m also looking forward to my children being able to return to in-person school and resume their social interactions. We love to travel as a family and look forward to being able to resume that.
Mary Choy, PharmD, BCGP, FASHP, is a medical writer and editor living in New York City. Dr. Choy is director of pharmacy practice at the New York State Council of Health-System Pharmacists. She is also the author of Healthcare Heroes: The Medical Careers Guide.