Depending on what part of the world you live in, post-pandemic life is slowly starting to open back up. Although some things such as doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals never fully closed, the way they operate has changed significantly.
Before the pandemic hit, you went about your medical appointments without a second thought. You would show up, sign in, sit and wait (and wait, and wait) until a nurse would bring you back to a room. There, you continued to sit and wait, and sometimes your frustration or anxiety would creep in. By the time you left, your mind was filled with a not-so-great experience.
Medical Appointments During the Pandemic
During this time, everyone in clinics, offices, and hospitals was on the front line. The public, in general, started to have a different opinion of workers who were putting their lives on the line – literally every single day.
This is when people started paying more attention to what goes on during appointments and just how many workers go into running our healthcare system.
A Visit to Your Medical Professional Today
There is quite a bit that goes into an appointment. Office staff, nurses, and doctors juggle different, and often extra, duties compared to pre-pandemic appointments.
Let’s take a look at what goes on when someone has a routine medical visit.
- You let the office know you’ve arrived for your appointment. Sometimes that’s done via an app, or you call the front desk.
Behind the scenes: There are receptionists taking the calls, there are people either pulling charts and files or getting your EMR (electronic medical record – your file) pulled up and in que for the doctor to see you.
- You come in and they verify your information and let you know where to sit to be called back.
Behind the scenes: Not only are receptionists helping you, they are also making sure the counter and pen you touched are sanitized for the next person. When you get up from the chair in the waiting room, someone comes by to sanitize the chair for the next patient. There is also the billing department staff that are looking up co-pays, processing payments, and printing receipts.
- A nurse comes to get you, then takes you back to get your weight on the way to the room.
Behind the scenes: Have you ever noticed all of the people working around you when you’re doing that simple thing?
- You enter the room where you sit down and your blood pressure and temperature are taken. The nurse asks you routine questions and records the responses in the computer.
Behind the scenes: Before you entered the room, a worker made sure to time the sanitization of the room so it was ready for you – including the chairs, keyboard, desk, exam table, and all needed equipment.
- The doctor comes in to see you, sanitizing, sitting, going through his/her laptop, getting your recently updated information. Depending on the reason for your appointment, there are any number of instruments and other materials needed to carry out your examination.
Behind the scenes: The nurse leaves, again sanitizing the gloves or their hands as they let the doctor know you are ready. All the necessary items were taken from a supply closet or storeroom and set up for the doctor’s use. Keep in mind that all of this is done just for you.
Nurses and clinic staff are human. They need a sip of water, a snack, and a restroom break. This is all timed around your appointments, the doctor, and other patients.
- The doctor may require labs to be taken. Normally you have to leave and go to another area for this.
Behind the scenes: There is paperwork being shared as to what needs to happen – x-rays, blood work, you name it. There is a nurse preparing the materials, paperwork, stickers with your information, etc. before you even get to them. Of course, everything is being sanitized which is all being timed out as well.
After You Leave the Appointment
After your visit, there are a lot of activities that go on behind the scenes: workers are dealing with billing, medical notes and forms, as well as additional steps and phone calls/emails/faxes to book specialist appointments. Not to mention the follow-up to ensure your appointments have been booked and you received the information. Plus your doctor calling to give you any medical test results. The list goes on and on…
Patience, Understanding, and Grace
Much of this is a new routine or enhanced additional work for staff as well as ourselves. Please take a moment to stop and think about all the people who are taking care of things behind the scenes so you can visit your doctor. Please extend a bit of grace to everyone involved. If I can help you in any way with regard to your medical clinic routines and procedures, please reach out to me. I have an extensive background assisting clinics and staff with making their office run as smoothly as possible. I am here to help in whatever way I can.
Organized MD – treating the ill elements of your time and spaces!