New Normal at Your Doctor's Office is Designed for Your Safety

Forget the crowded doctor’s office visits of the past. The new reality is designed for the safety of patients and employees — and this new normal is in place for the foreseeable future.

In this eraof COVID-19, Baptist Health’s primary care offices or family medicine centershave taken the necessary steps to reduce exposure. You won’t see crowdedwaiting rooms — actually, you may have the option of waiting in your carbefore being called into the clinical rooms at some locations. Medicalpersonnel are staggering appointments to space out patients at primary carefacilities to meet social distancing guidelines.

All urgent and non-urgent services at Baptist Health are open. And going to see your primary care physician or taking kids to their family practice or pediatrician is as crucial as ever, particularly for chronic condition maintenance and wellness visits. Pediatricians stress that’s it’s very important to keep up with your child’s vaccination schedule to protect them from harmful diseases such as measles and whooping cough.

“The most important thing is for everyone to stay healthy, both parents and children, and that includes regular checkups and follow-ups,  particularly for those with underlying health issues,” said Javier Hiriart, M.D., a pediatrician and physician with Baptist Health Primary Care, Family Medicine Center at West Kendall Baptist Hospital. “We understand that people are concerned but we’ve taken many measures to make it safe for everyone.”

Before entering your doctor’s office, you will notice that symptom and temperature screening is in place.  When you enter the doctor’s office, you might notice installed protective plastic partitions at the front desks of many of the reception areas.

You’ll likely also see temporary partitions between chairs for waiting inside, if this is your preference. These new barriers are designed to guard against droplets from coughs or sneezes.

There has also been a reduction in the available seating to allow for social distancing.  To learn more about the safety precautions, go to Baptist Health’s Patient & Visitor Safety website. If you have questions about safety measures, you can also call ahead to your doctor’s office.

“Patientsunderstand that these measures may be somewhat inconvenient, but they welcomethese changes because they understand it’s for the safety of them and theirfamilies, as well as our caregivers,” says Deepa Sharma,D.O., a family medicine physician with Baptist HealthPrimary Care, Family MedicineCenter at West Kendall Baptist Hospital.

Of course,face masks are required, or will likely be provided at your doctor’s office.Moreover, the patient registration process is contactless at Baptist Healthfacilities. Prior to your visit, your doctor’s office can collect yourpre-visit forms, signatures and any applicable payments virtually by phone oron your personal device.

“Anotherimportant component: any items that are high-touch, like magazines and coffeestations — we have moved all of those things from our lobbies,” explainedNancy Batista-Rodriguez, CEO of Baptist Outpatient Services, in a Baptist HealthTalk podcast. “All of the high touch areas within our clinicalsettings are being cleaned at a very regular basis. So, again, as you walk intothe lobby it is going to feel and look different, but it’s all being done, ofcourse, for the safety of our patients, our physicians, and our staff.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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