Coronavirus Safety Q&A with Dr. Katie Barlow

COVID-19 presents many challenges and uncertainties in our daily lives, but it should not interrupt medical care.

At Dermatology Consultants we are taking every precaution  to ensure patient visits to our clinics are safe for everyone during the pandemic by following the latest CDC guidelines as well as best practices for infection prevention.

Recently we sat down with Dr. Katie Barlow to answer some common questions regarding all the ways we protect the health and safety of our patients at Dermatology Consultants.

Q: Are you limiting the number of people who come into the offices?

Dr. Barlow: We are. We ask that whenever possible, patients come alone. If they need someone to come with them, we do allow it. But we’re definitely spacing out the times between appointments so there’s virtually no waiting in the waiting room or backups or lines at the door, which could happen when things were normal. We are also doing an expedited telephone call check-in for our more vulnerable patients – patients that are coming in with urgent or emergent needs that are at higher risk. They actually call us from the parking lot and then we do a version of the check-in process on the phone.

Q: Should patients wear masks when they come into the office?

Dr. Barlow: Yes, if the patients have that ability. For everyone’s health and safety, we are all wearing masks here in the clinics and we ask that they do as well.

Q: Does that include any kind of face covering?

Dr. Barlow: Correct. It doesn’t have to be a special mask or a fancy mask.

Q: There are sneeze guards now in place at the reception area. Is that a new feature?

Dr. Barlow: It is. It’s just an extra added layer of protection for both our patients checking in and our staff members doing that work. They have masks on behind the guards, but it’s just an extra layer of protection for everyone in the waiting room.

Q: What is the required PPE for your staff and what are you doing to keep your own staff safe?

Dr. Barlow: We’re all wearing masks throughout the day in the clinics and we are performing hand hygiene with donning and doffing gloves regularly. The temperatures of all of our staff members are monitored at the beginning of every workday. And everyone has been instructed that if they are ill, stay home. When they are then well, we have a process for returning to work, which is following the CDC guidelines.

Q: Are there additional ways you’re sanitizing the offices?

Dr. Barlow: Yes! Our already clean environment is now pristine. The amount of cleaning and what we’re cleaning between every single patient has increased significantly. We’re doing our very best to keep everybody safe.

Q: If a patient is referred for a video visit, how does that work?

Dr. Barlow: It’s new to our practice, but it’s very easy and effective to conduct video visits! Certain things like acne and rashes and follow up care can be done very simply with a video visit. It’s as easy as us sending you via email or text a link that connects your doctor to you. Within a matter of just a couple minutes, we can do a video from home, and it’s been really well received by our patients. A lot of my patients have expressed they hope we can keep doing this when life gets back to normal because it’s just so easy for them to do it from their home. During these trying times especially, patients who can have video visits seem relieved it’s one less contact outside the house they have to worry about. There are certain things that we can’t do via video though, like spot checks or skin checks or if there’s a spot of concern. In cases like that, we’re still happy to see people in the office, but the video is giving us a really nice way to keep the number of people actually in the office to a minimum. It also creates good social distancing here in the office.

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