Precautions Keep Patients Safe
In late February, before COVID-19 reached Florida, Dr. Fabian Ramos preemptively acknowledged the eminent threat and danger of the virus. Protecting our most vulnerable patients and stopping the community spread quickly became a top priority. Our immediate response included increasing precautions inside all our offices. Commonly touched surfaces were sanitized twice per hour with a highly potent virucidal, and mandatory temperatures screenings and mask wearing for both patients and staff were implemented. Additionally, Dr. Ramos imported a six-month supply of N95 masks, enough to equip all our employees throughout the duration of the pandemic, reassuring and protecting those patients who needed to be seen in person.
The biggest business challenge came in March with the introduction of telemedicine, a way for providers to connect virtually with patients on computers and smart devices through audio-visual capabilities. Prior to COVID-19, CMS restrictions did not allow our specialty to offer telemedicine services at our office locations.
Before any restrictions were lifted, our office sprang into action to adapt to this new technology. We assembled an internal telemedicine team to develop new clinical and examination protocols, researched HIPPA compliant video services, and worked weekends to train our providers and staff and test connections. The week prior to telemedicine “going live” we had our systems in place and were even able to contact patients ahead of their appointments and provide them with tech support and test calls to ensure their virtual appointments could carry on with ease and little frustration. Due to our vigorous preparations and leadership, we were ready for telemedicine the minute the restrictions were lifted.
By utilizing telemedicine, our goal was to avoid any interruptions in care while allowing our patients to be seen from the comfort and safety of their homes. Since the first week of telemedicine in late March, we were able to significantly decrease the number of patients in our office and we have successfully converted 95% of our eligible patients to telemedicine. Our patients were appreciative of the efforts we took to encourage social distancing while continuing their care and treating their pain. The Ramos Center will continue to offer telemedicine appointments for patients who qualify for as long as the restrictions remain lifted. The health and safety of our patients and the community is our top priority and you can count on us to continue to adapt and follow the guidance of the CDC for the duration of this pandemic.