The COVID-19 pandemic was a devastating event that affected all of us in one way or another. Lives were lost and healthcare systems were tested, but through adversity comes innovation and advancements. Much like the 9/11 tragedy forced us to confront our shortcomings when it came to airport security, COVID-19 exposed some weaknesses in our healthcare systems. These challenges have allowed us to develop new best practices to help keep patients safer long after the pandemic has ended. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the ways that COVID-19 has changed healthcare for the better.
How COVID Has Improved Patient Care
Here’s a look at how healthcare has forever been changed in positive ways because of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Preoperative Screenings – All facilities and surgeons screen their patients prior to an elective operation, but COVID has put a renewed emphasis on truly understanding how healthy a person is prior to an operation to help mitigate expected risk. Not only were doctors screening for COVID for their own safety, but if patients tested positive for the antibodies, that too factored into care protocols. We’re still coming to grips with understanding the long-term effects of COVID-19, but testing for the presence of the virus showcased just how important it is to really know a patient’s medical history before moving forward with a potentially risky procedure.
Surgical Team Safety – When time is of the essence and surgery needs to be performed as soon as possible, a COVID-19 test may be pointless because the procedure may need to take place regardless of their diagnosis. In these instances, patients need to be treated as a high-risk candidate from the surgical team’s perspective. N95 masks need to be implemented along with other precautions like eye protection, double gloving and the use of negative pressure systems. We need to continue to be hyper-vigilant about preventing airborne and blood-borne transmissions in the emergency room.
Non-Urgent Surgeries Can Wait – The COVID-19 pandemic created a backlog of patients waiting for elective surgeries, and while some of them will inevitably have worse outcomes because they were forced to wait, there is some merit to waiting on some operations, especially if the patient isn’t vaccinated yet. COVID can cause major problems for a patient who is trying to recover from an elective surgery, so it may be worthwhile to postpone operating until the patient can become fully vaccinated. Even when it doesn’t involve COVID, patients could benefit from a pre-operative rehab program that helps them develop healthy habits and lose weight prior to their procedure, which can help reduce the risk of complications.
Virtual Visits – But perhaps the biggest change that came out of the pandemic is how medical centers connect with patients. Many clinics were forced to adopt new technology to facilitate virtual appointments, and while they may not feel the same as an in-person appointment, they are largely effective and can save the patient a lot of time. Instead of spending hours traveling to or from appointments, patients can now be seen from from anywhere with an internet or cellular connection. This allows patients to be seen by specialists from all over the state and country, allowing them to get the best care for their unique condition. We plan to continue to offer these virtual consultations long after COVID is a thing of the past.
So while we’d all like to forget COVID, patient care has improved because of it. For help with all your foot and ankle needs, reach out to Dr. Silverman and his team today.