The pandemic has driven a need to adapt to so many new challenges, from learning new ways to get needed supplies, to finding new methods to engage, educate, and entertain one another. Certainly not least among these new obstacles are the limitations surrounding how to access and continue the preventive care you need to maintain your health.
In some ways, preventive care has, itself, become a victim of the pandemic. Health concerns which would have been immediately addressed with a doctor before COVID-19 are suddenly being scrutinized as whether or not they are “worth the risk,” and during the worst of the outbreak, the clinicians who would have treated these concerns had limited options or were only seeing emergency/non-routine cases.
Thankfully, each day we’re all learning to find a new-normal together, as social distancing and aggressive mitigation steps to prevent COVID-19 appear to be having a positive effect, and research continues at a furious pace to deliver additional protections. While the current environment is one which dictates sensible limitations on day-to-day life in order to flatten the curve, it is critically important to understand that this does not mean your health should be put on hold. In many cases, the benefits of maintaining your health can outweigh your risk or likelihood of obtaining COVID-19 when seeking care with a provider that enforces proper safety precautions in their practice and when taking your own active precautions.
Below, we’ll examine why preventive healthcare is more important than ever, and discuss how to continue to prioritize your own health, even while you are implementing the measures needed to protect yourself and your community.
The notion of what you’ll face when visiting a doctor’s office in the current environment can be unsettling—but the risks of ignoring ongoing, preventive health care are not small. Setting aside the basic fact that small health issues can become large health issues if left unchecked, in an atmosphere where patients with chronic or worsening conditions are also at the highest risk for COVID-19 infection, preventive care plays an increasingly important role.
For example, you may consider your annual GYN visit as okay to skip because it’s just “routine”—but these visits are often the front line in the battle to detect and treat serious conditions such as breast cancer, osteoporosis, and bladder disease early on– before they worsen or develop to a point that risks additional complications.
As with any facet of your ongoing health, engaging or postponing regular preventive care is a decision that should be informed by up-to-date information regarding the availability of care, and one that is made by both you and your doctor. Your well-being is not elective and should not be ignored.
When it comes to your health needs during the pandemic, you probably have a number of questions. Let’s explore some of our most frequently asked questions from patients to help you understand next steps for your care.
Does my issue require an in-person visit, or can it wait?
Informed decision making is a crucial part of your ongoing health. If you have a health concern, or questions regarding preventive care appointments, contact your care center for information on scheduling both physical and virtual health appointments. Don’t decide that your issue isn’t serious enough to address without first speaking with a trusted clinical expert.
Is it going to be hard to get an appointment? Can they just help me over the phone?
As you may expect, we are experiencing a higher-than-normal volume of incoming requests for information and appointments as so many are taking proactive steps toward preventive care. We want to assure you that your ongoing health is our primary concern, and we will address your specific appointment needs quickly to ensure your comfort and safety.
We are pleased to share that throughout the month of May, we are working to safely return patients to our offices for routine care, and through our telemedicine platform, AxiaConnect, we are able to offer an unprecedented level of access to care from the comfort and convenience of your own home. More on that below!
What are they doing to protect me from COVID if I do need to go to the office?
As we’re closely monitoring evolving guidelines from the CDC and the Departments of Health from each state, we have adapted our approach to care to give the utmost priority to the health and safety of our patients, clinicians, and staff. We want you to feel confident in your care and invite you to learn more about our approach to safely resuming care during COVID-19.
Virtual office visits…online medicine…telehealth…no matter how you refer to it, this new approach to health care is quickly becoming a proven method to safely, conveniently engage the care you need while maintaining the social distancing safety practices called for during the pandemic.
For example, our AxiaConnect platform enables patients to maintain their preventive care by connecting patients directly with their providers in a secure, simple-to-use app, and offers the ability to discuss the following (and more) in a safe, virtual environment:
There is already evidence to suggest that this new virtual-expansion of health services is here to stay, and it will indeed remain a service that Axia continues as part of our progressive approach to health care. Curious? Learn more about AxiaConnect.
Your best chance at life-long health remains a combination of informed self-advocacy and an ongoing dialogue with a doctor you trust. This was true before the pandemic changed everything, and is even more relevant in the tumultuous atmosphere of COVID-19. By now, you understand that your path to ongoing health is one that must include preventive care, and while the pandemic environment has altered what steps you’ll need to take to make this happen, please know that you have options!
First, home-health monitoring is an increasingly useful way to inform, but not replace, interaction with your doctor. Performing self-breast examinations, monitoring your diet and exercise using health tracking apps like GoogleFit or Symple, or tracking your basic vitals (pulse, HR, respiration) can provide valuable information and data to be used to monitor and paint the picture of your health when speaking with your doctor.
Additionally, and most importantly, stay connected with your health care provider to remain informed on the virtual and updated in-office options available to you. Your home-health efforts are definitely important but they are only a portion of what’s needed. Preventive care guided by regular, ongoing dialogue with your doctor is your recipe for life-long health.
Your well-being is not elective—don’t put your health on hold!
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