Restarting Eye Practices following the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 has pandemic has drastically changed how the world is operating. Countries have been on lockdown, restaurants, churches, schools and even social meetings have been done away with. Health experts have advised that social distancing can help reduce the rates of infection of the virus. Canceling of elective surgeries and reducing clinical volumes are the main factors that are leading nationally and in Ohio. This has led to the significant flattening of the curve. Ohio is currently trending at about 60 to 80% at the model of social distancing. Medical practitioners have gone back to work without the thought of being overwhelmed by the thought of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the evaluation that was done recently, Ophthalmologists were the most affected surgeons during the coronavirus pandemic, as they experienced a 79% drop in the number of clinical visits. A national experiment is about to be conducted to determine some of the things that can happen when people go back to their normal lifestyle. The experiment is going to be about some of the things that can happen to the pandemic when we start receiving our patients again, how to start various practices knowing that the COVID-19 might still exists in the future, how to protect patients and caregivers with no vaccine found yet and are the changes experienced during the pandemic temporary or permanent? There are some of the basis of the research to be conducted. Some of the ways that we can stay safe from the virus when we open our doors include the following.
- Virtual visits will still be there
Patients will be virtually visiting the healthcare facilities so as to reduce the exposure to health care organizations. Experiments are now being done with hybrid types of visit, which involves limited contact expedited appointments within the office. This is done with a diagnostic device, and then a virtual visit is performed afterwards. This safety technique has shown promise in glaucoma and retina clinics. Most of the patients in the two industries are now seen virtually.
- Promoting current remote eye operations and encouraging innovation of future devices.
There is still no remote device that has been designed to specifically monitor macular degeneration related to dry-eye. The Notal Vision can be fully integrated into EMR with the aim of ordering for tests and seeing the results. A random clinical trial which was conducted showed the benefit of this procedure. In addition to that, there are companies that are working on home OCT devices, to help in detecting issues in those with age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion and diabetic retinopathy. These OCT devices will be of great advantage in that they will be able to streamline office workflow.
- Evolution of the exam rooms and waiting rooms
On average, an ophthalmologist sees about 40 to 60 patients in a day. Keeping social distancing in this case is difficult. In addition to that, there is too much associated with ensuring that the virus does not spread quickly. First, the hospital will have to check the temperature of every patient entering the facility, offer masks in case they do not have masks, and reduce clinical movements in the hospital facility. When this is done, there might be a reduction in the number of cases of patients with the COVID 19 virus. In the waiting room, patients will also have to skip seats and not sit next to each other to avoid unnecessary contact with the other person. Providers will also be forced to work for longer hours so that they can space up patients and this can lead to a low clinical volume.
- Improvement of the ambulatory surgery centers
The structure of buildings will have to be altered in some cases. For instances, a large building with proper ventilation will be structured instead of using a small building for surgeries. In addition to that, the center will have to adopt testing methods for different patients for the COVID-19 before any surgical procedure is done. However, this might still expose the patient in that the time between testing negative and undergoing surgery could still expose the patient. Patients will have to take the COVID-19 test twice to ensure that they have tested negative for the virus.
- A new normal will be established
The new normal means that people will have to accept that the virus is there and they will be forced to live with it. The new normal in America means that the Americans will continue contracting the covid-19 without any vaccine. The same way we have developed measures in our personal lives, is the same way we will apply the personal measures to form part of our work life. Wearing of masks with be normal among people as it will be one of the effective ways to contain the spread of the virus. In addition to that, social gatherings will not exist as they did before and we will continue keeping a social distance. Also, proper hygiene forms the basis of new normal as how you take care of yourself and your belonging will determine how cautious you are about contacting the virus. The new normal will no longer feel weird the way it used to almost 6 months ago. We will be able to adapt to the new normal as the preventive measure of the COVID-19.
In conclusion, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the normal operations of the people and how people react with each other. Social gatherings no longer exists because it is a threat to the lives of many people. You can no longer interact with someone next to you in the hospital waiting area because there are restrictions on how far people should sit. The only way that the covid-19 virus can be contained is by adapting to the new normal. The new normal means that we will be required to embrace the use of masks and to practice proper hygiene. When this is done, the number of people contacting the virus can significantly reduce.