One of the unintended consequences of Covid-19 is that people are avoiding doctor’s offices for any health concern they don’t consider absolutely necessary. That means they are skipping crucial screenings, letting easily-treated conditions snowball, and suffering needlessly.
In the field of dermatology, the consequences of skipping appointments can be very serious, especially if you are at risk for deadly melanoma skin cancer. Even if you are dealing with non-life-threatening skin concerns like acne, psoriasis, or eczema, missing appointments can affect your results as many of these conditions require treatment to be consistent for it to be effective.
There is no reason to avoid the dermatologist’s office for fear of Covid-19. Here at Arizona Dermatology, as well as in other doctor’s offices across the country, we are taking our patients’ and staff’s safety very seriously when it comes to Covid-19. Here are a few of the things doctor’s offices are doing to prevent transmission of the virus.
Pre-screening and Temperature Checks. Staff and patients have their temperature taken the moment they enter the building (or before entering). If a fever registers, a second temperature is taken to confirm. If a staff member has a fever, they are sent home to quarantine. At Arizona Dermatology we are doing temperature and questionnaire screenings outside before any patient enters our facility. You will be asked if you have any symptoms of fever, chills, cough or shortness of breath. We’ll also ask you about travel and exposure to anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19. Patients with a positive pre-screening result are scheduled for a TELEHEALTH visit.
Social distancing. Medical offices have gotten creative in order to maintain social distancing in waiting rooms. This might involve expanding their hours to be able to stagger appointments to reduce the number of patients in the waiting area or having patients wait in their vehicles. Patients may be limited to one additional person accompanying them to an appointment. At Arizona Dermatology, we are asking that patients remain in their cars after pre-screening until we are ready for them, when they will be escorted directly into a sanitized exam room.
Disinfecting. Dermatologist’s offices are following rigorous protocols for cleaning and disinfecting their facilities according to CDC guidelines. This includes using a disinfectant proven to kill Covid-19 and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (such as door handles, toilets, sinks, touch screens, etc.) multiple times per day. At Arizona Dermatology we are using a strict disinfection protocol on all of our exam rooms prior to each patient’s entry and on all of our frequently touched surfaces in common areas.
Masks and PPE. The physicians and staff of noy of our locations will be wearing PPE. Patients and visitors will also be required to wear a mask before entering the office A mask will be provided to anyone who does not have one. If your examination requires that you remove your mask, you can replace it as soon as the examination is complete. At Arizona Dermatology, we can provide all patients and visitors with masks, and our providers and staff use N95 masks throughout the duration of each appointment.
Telemedicine. In many cases, a telemedicine appointment can be made in lieu of a face-to-face appointment with a provider. Telemedicine video technology allows you to be seen by a medical professional and prescribed treatment from the comfort and safety of your home. Due to the nature of dermatology, in some cases a follow-up face-to-face appointment may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis. Arizona Dermatology offers care through the secure TELEHEALTH platform, which uses a straightforward video conferencing solution and support, if needed. Youtube videos on how to install the platform on your device are available, and we are available by phone if you need additional help.
Lastly, we want to mention that, in an effort to assist our community, Arizona Dermatology providers have expanded their normal medical services to include burns, lacerations, and anything requiring stitches as well as wound care. Coming to us will not only relieve pressure on our local hospitals and urgent care facilities, it will also limit your exposure to Covid-19, which may be higher in those environments.
If you have any additional questions about safety during Covid-19, don’t hesitate to call us.
And don’t hesitate to schedule your next dermatology appointment– it’s safe to do so!