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The Future of UC Practice due to COVID

Andy Barnett, MD, Mizuho Morrison, DO, and Matthieu DeClerck, MD

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In this audio piece Andy, Miz, and Matthieu discuss the role Urgent and Immediate Care centers played during the past year with the Covid pandemic. Specifically their role as testing sites that helped alleviate the burden on Emergency Departments as well as augmenting the need for testing from a public health standpoint. They also look to the future and discuss what role Urgent and Immediate Care centers may play as we continue to battle with Covid 19 as well as what does the future of Urgent and Immediate care look like in the age of Covid. How can we get back to caring for the traditional healthcare needs of our patients while continuing to protect ourselves and our patients from Covid 19.

Nathan B. -

I am a PA, and work in UC and supplement in our ED. Practice is based in Rochester, MN.

I think the decline in patient volumes is multi-factorial:

1) Masking.
2) Perhaps a persistent element of fear.
3) Patient working in service industries and others affected by the pandemic, being laid off, not having income and/or insurance.
4) Patients discovering that their upper respiratory infection is viral, and low and behold guess away on its own.

A game-changing triage element for us and patients is going to be the invention of the patient/user-friendly home vital sign machine. Whomever develops an EMR/EHR interface for virtual care that transmits the vital sign data - wow, what change will come! Perhaps it already exists, just not on a massive scale.

I'd like to believe the pandemic has taught patients that they don't need to come most of the time for their URI. If this behavior continues, institutions will need to adapt for chronically-decreased patient volumes. I'd also like to believe that seasonal masking on part of patients and clinicians will continue, since it's objective that influenza cases were drastically down this past season.

Bottom line is, we're all going to get a CoFlu vaccine every year, and it'll be another virus we'll be dealing with. Too bad COVID doesn't seem to be seasonal, though.

Thanks for the discussion, and the podcast. I've been a subscriber since 2013.

Mike W., MD -

Thx Nathan for the comments, for being a part of our national urgent care dialogue, and being such a great subscriber!!

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