JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fears of the coronavirus and coronavirus shutdowns led thousands of people to cancel or postpone trips to the doctor for routine health check-ups or annual visits, according to a recent Harvard study.
The coronavirus outbreak forced many businesses, including some primary physician's offices, to shut down.
That meant many patients couldn’t get the general care they needed.
“There’s a Harvard study out that’s shown between March and I believe mid-April there’s been about a 62% decrease in visits to primary health care doctors for regular check-ups, ongoing management of multiple medical problems because of the fear of the coronavirus," said Dr. Vincent Galiano with the Magnolia Medical Group.
Galiano said skipping these kinds of exams and labs could put you at risk of worsening conditions.
“Especially patients with diabetes, heart disease, and congestive heart failure. Three to four months does not sound like a long time, but people can get worse pretty quickly, especially if they’re staying at home. They’re not being monitored. Some people need medicine adjusted, and some people need blood work so we can adjust those medications,” Galiano said.
As businesses reopen, primary doctors are starting to see patients for routine health care again.
However, if you still don’t feel comfortable going to a doctor’s office many offices offer visits through telehealth services, but this kind of visit does come with limitations.
“That is somewhat limited because we are not really able to put our hands on the patient, listen to their lungs. If we just have patients that we just need to review laboratory works or go over their medications, we can do that over the phone,” Galiano said.
If you’re considering telehealth visits, it is important to discuss the nature of your visit with your doctor first.
Lastly, Galiano said primary doctors will be taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of their employees and patients.
“If I’m going to be in a room with a patient, I’m going to have a surgical mask, gloves on that’s used just for individual use, going to have goggles on so that they feel comfortable. Patients need to also understand we’re trying to protect ourselves too,” Galiano said.