Clinical Practices & Containment Tips
- Use your appointment reminder system, website, portal, social media pages, or statements to send out patient alerts and instructions. Advise your patients of your current policies and remind them to check the portal and website for changes in hours or protocols or restrictions prior to leaving for their appointment.
- Post a sign on the outside of all doors advising patients who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath or fever of or over 100.4 degrees) not to enter, but to go to an urgent care center or emergency room.
- Restrict non-patients in the office. Inform visitors that they must wait in their cars and are not allowed in with patients unless the patient requires assistance.
- Have patients wait in their automobiles until notified by text or call that it is ok to come in for their appointment.
Patient & Staff General Safety
- Convert as many outpatient visits to telehealth visits as is appropriate.
- Check all patients' temperatures before allowing them in the office. Alternately, request that all patients check their temperature before coming to the office and call the office to cancel if their temperature is greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Check temperatures of all staff before and after the workday.
- Remove 50% of the chairs in the waiting room to create more social distance.
- Consider performing intake in the waiting room to limit any further exposure. If a patient shows symptoms, take the appropriate containment steps. Notify the care team to keep patients in exam rooms while the necessary steps are taken.
- Station medical assistants (with proper PPE) in the waiting room to triage and register patients. Any symptomatic patients must leave and call to reschedule.
- Follow the guidelines established by the CDC, public health department and local healthcare system with which you are affiliated. These guidelines may change frequently so check daily. Generally:
- Is the patient exhibiting respiratory or other symptoms on date of appointment or who have felt ill during the week preceding appointment?
- Has the patient traveled within previous 30 days to an area with widespread/ongoing community spread of COVID-19?
- Follow CDC, hospital and specialty society guidance regarding the postponement of inpatient and outpatient elective surgical and procedural cases and scheduling of office visits.
- Establish patient care plans and modify them as required; notify staff in writing.
- Follow CDC guidelines to update cleaning protocols and increase frequency.
- In the event of a confirmed diagnosis of either patient or employee, follow the guidelines for containment, office cleaning, and enforced staff quarantines. When possible direct patients to other uncontaminated offices.
- State of Georgia Executive Order, State of Emergency
- Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Testing Priorities
- CDC Disinfecting Your Facility if Someone is Sick
- CDC Get Your Clinic Ready for COVID-19
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- CMS Recommendations for Adult Elective Procedures
- Ambulatory Surgery Center Association COVID-19 Resources
- CMS COVID-19 Virtual Toolkit
- Ariadne Labs - Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day
- CDC's COVID-19 Fact Sheet
- CDC's COVID-19 FAQs