UPMC Hamot adapts in-person doctor appointments during COVID-19 pandemic


As we adjust to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems some people are not quite ready to make their way back to the doctors office.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has grown in popularity. Doctors are saying if you have a condition that needs attention, you should seek an in-person appointment.

Dr. Michael Miller, a Urologist from UPMC Hamot said that his office is starting to book appointments back at full speed.

Dr. Miller’s office went from half booked to now fully booked where they see about 30 patients a day. However, the ongoing pandemic is creating a challenge.

“We have patients that are quite fearful of any kind of exposure,” said Dr. Michael Miller, Urology Specialist at UPMC Hamot.

The routine for a traditional appointment has changed since the pandemic started.

Outside of wearing a mask, patients now can call from their car and when the doctor is ready to see them, you can walk in and bypass the waiting room.

Dr. Miller said that canceling an appointment with your physician could ultimately lead to a worsening of your condition.

“We’ve seen some people that have said you know what it’s not safe, I won’t do this. We have seen some people who have waited too long and they end up in the hospital,” said Dr. Miller.

Dennis King said that with the ongoing pandemic, he was reluctant to cancel his appointment so he turned to telemedicine.

“I joined the patient portal and that was a God send. Direct communication with all of my doctors and I have a lot of them,” said Dennis King, Erie Resident.

When it came to in-person doctors appointments, King said he was ready to go in.

“Sometimes if you have a little list of things you wanted to ask, you might forget. It’s good to be right there with a doctor and a nurse. They can ask you the questions that you need to know,” said King.

UPMC is allowing hospital inpatients who did not test positive for COVID-19 and emergency department patients will now be permitted one support person with them inside.

This is a change since the pandemic began just over two months ago.

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Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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