COVID-29 pandemic has a profound impact on health care delivery worldwide and dermatology is no exception. To avoid disruptions in continuity of care and ensure timely consults for those who need the dermatologist most we need to implement some changes in the function of our ambulatory services.
We will see fewer patients than usual. Wait list may increase and your appointment might be rescheduled. We are serving a large number of patients and commonly see ≅ 300 ambulatory patients each day. Such a high volume poses serious risk of COVID contraction. For safety reasons we will decrease the number of patients and prioritize those who need us most.
We will convert some face-to-face appointments to phone calls or virtual telehealth consults.
We will ask our patients to arrive on time. Late arrivals increase crowding in the waiting room. If you arrive late you consultation may be cancelled.
Waiting room rules. We cannot accommodate more than 5 people in the waiting area. If the waiting room is at the capacity you will be asked to wait elsewhere at Kaye Edmonton Clinic respecting social distancing. We will call you on your cell phone when we are ready for you.
Come alone and do not take family, friends or other accompanying persons.
Safety is our highest priority. At arrival you will be asked a few screening questions related to COVID-19 risk. Please, observe social distancing.
Who is at risk of contracting the coronavirus?
This virus is unknown to all our immune systems and therefore has the potential to make anyone sick. We know those who are of older age, have suppressed immune systems, or underlying lung disease may be at increased risk of significant illness. If you think you may have symptoms, use this online screening tool provided by Alberta Health Services to complete an assessment.
Should I change or stop my medications?
If you are feeling well we would NOT recommend changing or stopping your medications. This can lead to worsening of your rheumatologic disease and symptoms. If you have contracted COVID-19 and you are on immunosuppressive medication (biologics, ciclosporin, Rituximab, imuran) inform your doctor about it. Such medication will most likely be paused until your recovery. DO NOT STOP prednisone without speaking to your dermatologist or other healthcare professional.
Should I come to my upcoming dermatology appointment?
If you are feeling unwell, have travelled in the last 14 days, or have had contact with anyone with coronavirus, do not come to the clinic. If you feel your dermatologic disease is stable, you may choose to defer your appointment for 3-6 months. Please call the clinic office to cancel and reschedule if this is appropriate.
Information To Patients: Medical Consultation By Unregulated Virtual Communication (phone, internet, Facetime…)
COVID-19 is placing stress on Canada's public health system. Our health service is starting to offer virtual care to make sure that we can continue to care for our patients safely and effectively. This means that we will be using video and audio technologies for some patient visits rather than asking all patients to come into our office. We do our best to make sure that any information you give to us during virtual care visits is private and secure, but no video or audio tools are ever completely secure. There is an increased security risk that your health information may be intercepted or disclosed to third parties when using video or audio communications tools.
Unregulated virtual care technologies increase the risk that your personal health information may be intercepted or disclosed to third parties. These tools are being used as an extraordinary measure during the COVID-19 pandemic when regulated technology is not readily available, and the necessity to keep people from congregating or attending health facilities where they may be exposed to the COVID-19 virus is thought to outweigh the risk of personal privacy breaches on both a personal and population health basis.
To help us keep your information safe and secure, you can:
- Understand that video, emails, calls, or texts you may receive are not secure in the same way as a private appointment in an exam room.
- Use a private computer/device (i.e., not an employer's or third party's computer/device), secure accounts and a secure internet connection. For example, using a personal and encrypted email account is more secure than an unencrypted email account, and your access to the Internet on your home network will generally be more secure than an open guest Wi-Fi connection.
If you are concerned about using video or audio tools for virtual care, other arrangements can be made. However, please note that visiting a health care provider in person comes with a higher risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 and the possibility of spreading the virus.
By providing your information, you agree to let us collect, use, or disclose your personal health information through video or audio communications (while following applicable privacy laws) in order to provide you with care. In particular, the following means of electronic communication may be used (identify all that apply): email, videoconferencing (including Skype, Facetime, etc.), text messaging (including instant messaging), website/portal, other (specify).”
Important information to Referring Physicians
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have to decrease the capacity of our Kaye Edmonton Clinic Dermatology ambulatory clinic and therefore we are only seeing what is essential to be seen. However, there is the option for us to provide you advice via physician to physician ZOOM teleconference, an AHS-approved video conferencing tool. You will be able to connect with one of the university dermatologists who will help you with diagnosis/therapy advice or will triage the patient to the university clinic.
ZOOM consults are easy to set-up, either on the laptop or on your smartphone. Please, follow these steps:
- Obtain several in-focus photos of patient’s skin lesions/rash from your patients (ideally a picture from far away, a close up photo, and a photo at 45 degree angle -- please do not use flash)
- Call KEC Dermatology clinic (780-407-1257) and ask for an appointment for the tele-consult. You will get a unique ZOOM #ID number that will allow you to connect.
- Go to zoom website (zoom.us) on your camera-enabled desktop/laptop or download ZOOM app on your cellphone/ipad. Click "join the meeting" button and enter meeting #ID. You will be automatically placed in a meeting (if you have not used ZOOM before you will be prompted to download an .exe (the zoom program) or *.dmg file for mac computers)
- You will be able to share your patient’s photos through ZOOM (by sharing content/screen) or through the secure AHS email provided by your dermatologists.
Referring physicians can apply the billing code 03.01LG.
This option is for non-urgent cases only. For urgent or emergent dermatologic referrals please contact the on-call dermatologist/service.
We are looking forward to helping you in the management of your patients with skin diseases. For most recent updates, please follow us on Twitter @dermualberta