Telemedicine Options for Patients
March 19, 2020
Dear patients of Scottsdale Health and Wellness and AZ Sports Medicine:
The providers of our medical practices Drs. Dean, Amit, and Dault would like to reach out to our patients with information about the current outbreak of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, and discuss our thoughts and protocols for our practices at this time. Our clinic is currently open and functioning, and we will conduct business as (mostly) usual in our office taking care of sports medicine, orthopedic, and family medicine patients utilizing the guidelines provided by the CDC and our government administration. The following paragraphs hopefully will guide you through some common questions and recommendations to keep you all safe and healthy:
What is the protocol for seeing patients at your office/clinic?
We are actively monitoring the recommendations from the CDC, reliable medical sites (Johns Hopkins), and local medical departments for updates. Our policy currently is to continue seeing patients in our office, with some slight changes. We will be asking questions on the phone and upon arrival to an appointment. Temperatures will be taken of all persons prior to entering our waiting room. If someone has an active temperature of 100.3 or higher, especially if any cough and cold symptoms with body aches, they will be asked to reschedule. We are asking all patients if they experience these symptoms, please stay home and reschedule your appointment for a later date. If you have signs and symptoms of coronavirus or test positive, current recommendations include a two week period quarantined at home with a 6 feet distance from others to prevent infectious spread. We are currently working on a telemedicine solution from the provider doxy.me to be able to see and treat people utilizing this HIPPA compliant program. We will be continuing in office appointments and likely offering alternative telemedicine appointments beginning Monday March 22. The platform needs only an internet signal, audio and visual capabilities, and this may be accomplished with a smartphone, computer or laptop with webcam and microphone. You will be able to live chat with your physician after we send you a text or email link during your appointment window. A telemedicine appointment will be set up with you after booking an appointment with our office via phone call and completing all necessary paperwork and any copay, deductible, and co-insurance is verified and collected.
What is COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)?
COVID-19 is a viral illness, with its start and epicenter in China. This has spread rapidly throughout the globe and is here in the United States. At this time, there are cases in Arizona, and this will spread to our members of the community. The virus is a form of the common cold, causing mostly respiratory symptoms. Typically, people will get a fever, body aches, headache, and cold/cough symptoms. Most healthy young people will get mild or even no symptoms, which adds to the potential easier spread through the community. The infection may last for a couple days up to two weeks. The potential infectious period is also estimated to be a couple days but up to two weeks. Currently our goal as healthcare providers is to decrease the rapid spread and take care of the persons who are most likely to get severe symptoms. These persons are elderly (over 60), especially with any other medical issues that may decrease your bodies chance of fighting the illness. If you have any chronic medical problems such as autoimmune diseases, immune compromise, diabetes, heart disease, or especially respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and COPD there is higher risk of serious illness. The latest data is persons under 19 years old have very little chance to have serious illness, but ages 20-44 there is a 20% chance of serious illness requiring hospitalization.
What should I do if I think I have the virus or symptoms of it?
The current recommendation is to isolate yourself and self-quarantine. This means staying at home, and distancing yourself from friends and loved ones, 6 feet apart, for two weeks. We recommend you DO NOT come to the office or go to the hospital (with exceptions). A telemedicine appointment may be a good solution. If you are less than 60 years old without chronic medical conditions and healthy immune system, your body will fight and likely you will have mild symptoms and full recovery. We ask that people stay away to prevent infection to others and especially not to overload and infect healthcare workers. If you develop severe symptoms or have chronic medical conditions, going to the emergency room is the best bet. In our community clinics, we do not have any testing at this time. Arizona Department of Health and our local hospital systems do have testing, but the availability of tests is limited. If you experience severe illness, especially shortness of breath, high fever not controlled by Tylenol or Advil/Motrin/Ibuprofen, or signs of dehydration we recommend you report to your emergency department for treatment and monitoring. At this time the treatment is symptomatic care, meaning IV fluids to manage the symptoms of dehydration from high fever and medications such as steroids and inhalers to manage respiratory complications such as shortness of breath and wheezing.
We want our patients and your families to know that we are her for you during these uncertain times and your good health is our first priority. Feel free to call our office at 480-889-1838 to schedule an in office or telemedicine appointment. We hope to see you soon at the office or on a telemedicine visit. We also will be scheduling new appointments for friends and families if needed.
Dr. Erik Dean DO
Dr. Amit Sahasrabudhe MD
Dr. Stacey Dault DO