How is Your Practice Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Connect with other MSHO members to share resources and best practices related to the clinical management of patients as we face this challenging time.
The first day in the office after the announcement of the national emergency, I felt uneasy. Patients and family members are calling to ask whether they should come in or bring their family member in for their treatment. Many of the questions had to do with the general benign heme follow-up which can comprise a large portion of our days. It raised questions in my own mind as to what was needed for these patients. Many are elderly and infirm from other comorbidities. Some are simply well but with a lab abnormality that has not yet achieved clinical significance.
As I thought more and grappled with the issue of self-quarantine, reducing the spread of Coronavirus, balancing the needs of patients and staff, I realized that what I am hearing requires a place for us to vent, share experiences, give and receive advice. Several nurses commented on their concerns about how to answer patient/family questions. There were concerns about where health system leadership is in this crisis. I received (albeit some is secondhand) conflicting opinions from colleagues about how to structure our office visits, the process of triage, etc, all while receiving a blitz of helpful advice from many organizations in the interest of educating their customers. I am feeling my way through this as well, without any sense of experienced leaders taking charge. I realized that as part of the way I need to process this, I must take charge of my own piece of the situation – how and with whom I interact, in keeping with recommendations for social distancing. But, how does a practicing heme/onc doc comply conscientiously and compassionately, where hands-on is a must for many of our patients. Do port flushes need to be deferred? How about those ESA and GCSF’s? What about transfusions? How will our bottom lines be affected? And if that is a source of concern, what does that say about us?
Feel free to comment - maybe we can be the MSHO community that we desire and need at a time like this. Please stay away from political grandstanding. Postings will be monitored and rejected if they cross the line.
Jerome Seid, M.D., FACP
Greats Lakes Cancer Management Specialists