Dr. Dhrumil Shah

While communities across the nation have decided to lift their ‘Stay at Home’ requirements to start reopening the economy, ‘Social Distancing’ advisories remain necessary during this pandemic. Getting back to our desired ‘Normal’ is going to require a globally adopted vaccine for COVID-19. TIME will tell us if we can expect our ‘Normal’ lifestyle to return soon or if we will have to settle for a ‘New Normal’ consisting of social distancing, constant sanitizing, and fear of this virus. COVID-19 remains a significant challenge for the public health and healthcare systems but also challenges society’s ‘Life Balance’ in ways many of us could have never imagined.

Advances in today’s technology have made it possible to practice physical isolation and social distancing while still having the ability to connect virtually with our friends and family. Being socially active is a human trait that we all have to reconfigure how to adapt to this ‘New Normal’ for the time being. All aspects of our social lives have been affected by this pandemic. Schools are closed, and learning is all online, working from home is a new normal, while social events such as weddings, funerals, and sporting events have canceled or held virtually.

So, how do we prepare better and create this New Normal?

To be human is to persevere despite the obstacles we face in our lives. One of the best quotes I have heard recently by Louis Pasteur, is perhaps the answer, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Here at Compass Medical, we are facing similar challenges alongside every other healthcare organization. Despite all of these challenges, we have taken our prior knowledge and experiences and applied it to our ‘New Normal’ as we continue to care for our patients. We continue to hold in-person visits by taking the proper precautions to keep all of our staff and providers safe, such as screening every individual that steps foot into our facilities. We do this in balance with our new Telemedicine service, where our patients can visit with their Providers either by a telephone call or video call. Our focus remains vigilant in providing care for those who are affected by COVID-19 while continuing to prioritize preventive care, acute care, and chronic care needs for our patients and our communities.

We are proud of how our teams and services have adapted so quickly to Compass Medicals’ New Normal’. Our Behavioral Health department not only rapidly modified how they conducted their services to provide Telemedicine visits to our patients but are now evolving their popular group therapy sessions. Groups like ‘Grief, Loss and Healing’ and ‘Managing Stress and Anxiety’ are being held through Zoom, as we feel these groups are necessary for our patients in the COVID-19 era. Our Primary Care teams are doing extensive outreach to engage our patient population, who may be in desperate need of care and assistance in managing their medical conditions to prevent further deterioration. This population may not be able to seek out attention or do not want to seek out medical care given the current environment but need to get their preventative wellness needs taken care of regardless. At the same time, our care teams are appropriately getting back to our core focus on delivering clinical excellence and compassionate care within all our clinical disciplines. Our Urgent Care Centers also continue to provide a combination of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care for in-person visits while expanding virtual care options. Our patients are comforted to know that our offices remain open and dedicated to providing essential in-person care, including ancillary services such as laboratory and radiology services.

Optimizing and balancing Telemedicine visits and in-person visits have given us the ability to design our ‘New Normal’ approach to caring for our patients. Given the last few weeks, I highly doubt that we are going back to a previous world where virtual visits were scarce, where we know that it is now feasible between both our Providers and patients to conduct a virtual visit. While our communities are also preparing alongside healthcare facilities like Compass Medical, we recognize that many of our patients are welcoming this new state of ‘Healthcare coming to you’ via Telemedicine.

Waiting for ‘New Normal’ to be realized without any efforts on our part is not the most prudent approach given current knowledge and experience we all have. Hopefully, we can all work together and prepare accordingly for the future ahead, no matter what the challenges lie ahead for us.