Physicians can protect themselves from a limited number of very sick, highly contagious patients who need hospitalization. Physicians cannot maintain a required high level of personal protection when changing PPE gear many times per day. Therefore, physicians need a system that allows them to see only the patients that need a face-to-face exam for admission. They need to quickly assess these very sick patients and determine which level of care is needed. Patients who have symptoms that do not need hospitalization must be reassured via non-visit options such as video visits or telephone communication.
Many organizations have devised a simple flow sheet for patients or staff, but physicians must still provide screening functions. A more comprehensive screening maximizes the time and equipment of physicians.
Any simple list of questions can determine if a patient is likely to have COVID-19, but this commonly used approach requires hands-on physician intervention to decide the level of care required – exposing physicians needlessly. With the information provided by the IMH COVID-19 screening, the clinician can make a referral for Vital signs, O2 Saturation, and a Chest X-Ray before ever seeing the patient. Often the physician can make a recommendation for direct hospitalization with minimal or no face-to-face interaction. Less ill patients are deferred to supportive staff for reassurance. Only the IMH COVID-19 interview can offer the maximum protection to physicians by minimizing exposure risk. The IMH COVID-19 interview is also a complete medical record for documentation.