Is it safe to go to my doctor's office?

May 27, 2020 | by Adam Schriedel, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

As we get a better handle on this pandemic, life is slowly beginning to open back up.

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, elective surgeries and procedures are now being performed at our hospitals. Outpatient lab and diagnostic imaging services are now being offered at some locations. And, our physician offices are now open. All with your safety in mind.

Our doctors are offering both in-person and virtual care options to keep you healthy. If you need help deciding, call your doctor’s office. If you need a physician, we can help with that, too.

Sometimes an in-person visit is your best option. If you haven’t seen your doctor in a while, it’s probably time for a check-up to stay on top of any health issues before they become a problem. If you’re dealing with a chronic condition, like hypertension or diabetes, it could get worse if you delay treatment.

Whatever you do, don’t avoid an in-person visit out of fear of potential exposure to the virus. Our doctor offices are taking every precaution to keep you safe and minimize your risk. Read our Safety Commitment.

At our doctor offices, you’ll find these consistent safety measures in place:

  • Phone screening prior to appointments. Every patient is screened by phone for symptoms before scheduling an appointment. If a patient has COVID-19 symptoms, their doctor will arrange a virtual visit to evaluate if they need to be tested. COVID-19 testing is available at nine convenient outpatient lab locations with a doctor’s order. If a patient tests positive for COVID-19, their doctor will manage their care virtually and will resume in-person appointments only when the patient is no longer contagious.
  • Regular deep cleaning. Our offices are cleaned and disinfected several times a day.
  • Staggered appointment times. We are spacing out appointments and extending in-person office hours to limit the number of patients seen in the office at one time.
  • Staff PPE. Our staff wears personal protective equipment (PPE), including surgical masks, when interacting with patients.
  • Screeners at office entrances. All patients and caregivers will be screened for symptoms and have their temperature checked before entering our offices. Any patient with a fever over 100 degrees and/or symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent back to their car. Their doctor will call them for further guidance on if they need a COVID-19 test or if they should go to the Emergency Department for evaluation.
  • Masking upon arrival. All patients and caregivers are asked to wear a mask upon arrival at our offices.
  • Remote registration. Patients are pre-registered during the screening process and are typically asked to wait in their car until they are ready to be seen in order to limit time in our waiting areas.
  • Hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is available at the front desk and we encourage patients to use it, especially after handling high-touch surfaces like doors, elevator buttons and pens.
  • Social distance waiting areas. Our waiting areas ensure physical distancing, including spaced out waiting room chairs. We are also minimizing use of our waiting areas through remote registration, screening at office entrances, and having patients wait in their car until it’s time to be seen.

Some health issues can be addressed virtually. In addition to in-person office visits, we’re also ready to “see” you while you’re at home.

We’re offering virtual options to both current and new patients for both COVID-19 symptoms and a range of other issues, such as back pain, cough/cold symptoms, allergies, asthma, headache, pink eye and more:

  • Video Visits: More than 500 of our physicians (with Edward Medical Group, Elmhurst Clinic, Elmhurst Memorial Medical Group and Elmhurst Medical Associates) are offering Video Visits to new and established patients of all ages. A Video Visit is simply a video call which allows you to meet face-to-face, in real time, with your doctor from the comfort of home. Learn how to make the most of your Video Visit.
  • Phone visits: If you’d prefer a phone conversation, ask your doctor about a phone visit to meet your needs.
  • E-Visits: E-Visits are currently available to patients who have a primary care physician with Edward Medical Group or Elmhurst Clinic. E-Visits enable you to connect with your doctor via secure messaging through MyChart®. You’ll receive an online diagnosis and treatment plan. If you need prescriptions, they’ll be sent directly to your pharmacy.

With the MyEEHealth mobile app you can find a doctor, schedule an in-person or virtual visit, and keep track of your health from the comfort of anywhere.

If you feel ill, Edward-Elmhurst Health is offering screening options for COVID-19, including a symptom checker to advise you on what to do next and a COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line (331-221-5199) to see if you meet testing requirements. We are also offering Video Visits and E-Visits for COVID-19 symptoms.

For updates on our planning and response efforts as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, please check EEHealth.org/coronavirus.

The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.

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