If there’s another surge in cases, we know how to pivot back to telemedicine quickly.
TR: How are patients currently feeling about telemedicine/in-person appointments?
Dr. Mehta: Patients love not having to drive to their appointments and all the other logistical challenges that come with in-person appointments. On the other hand, I think they appreciate in-person interactions with physicians.
The best model going forward is going to be a flexible one that allows for telemedicine and in-person visits as appropriate for the patient.
TR: What changes have been made to resume in-person appointments?
Dr. Mehta: We all wear facemasks and eyewear when we’re in patient’s rooms. We have also minimized the number of providers in a workroom and have spaced out the times each of us is in clinic. Another precaution we’ve implemented is minimizing the number of people who are accompanying patients when they come into the clinic.
To help everyone stay safe, facemasks are required for the duration of their appointments. If patients or families refuse to wear masks, then they will be reminded that universal masking has been put into place for their safety, as well as the safety of the healthcare team and other patients. This would be mandatory for them to enter and stay in the building.
TR: What are you looking forward to doing after the pandemic is over?
Dr. Mehta: It’s the everyday things that I miss and can’t wait to have back after the pandemic is over. I am looking forward to being able to get together with friends at indoor gatherings—sharing good food, drinks and laughter. It would be great to travel to see family we haven’t seen for more than a year. It would be nice to actually see the smiles on patients’ faces and have them see my smiles back.
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.