Living and working during COVID-19, perspective.

Physician Magazine - Summer 2020

By Carolyn Keith
practice administrator at Allergy and Asthma Center, Lancaster

Providers and staff at Allergy and Asthma Center's three locations started planning early on for changes that would make their offices safer.

"We suspected from late January or early February that the virus would eventually become an issue for our service area," said Carolyn Keith, practice administrator. "We knew we would need additional masks and PPE (personal protective equipment) to get through the crisis. We also knew we would need to be proactive, and we began implementing changes immediately to protect both our patients and staff prior to the first confirmed case in our counties."

Satellite offices in Stevens and Lebanon were consolidated with the main office in Lancaster, which has remained open throughout the crisis. A multitude of preventative measures were put in place, including distribution of disinfectant wipes and safety information to all patients.

Magazines and other non-essential items were removed from the office, the waiting room reconfigured to keep patients a safe distance apart and all staff members were outfitted with N95 masks. Temperature checks and screenings for staff and patients were put into place in February, and an air filtration system to create negitive pressure was installed in the office.

Patients with an appointment to see a provider get checked in, examined and checked out in an exam room, and they exit through a side door to avoid contact with injection patients. Telehealth is available for patients who prefer it, but most prefer face-to-face treatment, Keith explained.

"I feel we have one of the safest offices, and we will continue to do whatever we can to keep the office safe while providing quality care to our patients," she said.

All safety measures will remain in place in anticipation of the upcoming flu season and a possible uptick in cases of coronavirus.

Keith thanked patients, staff, and community members for adjusting to necessary changes and helping to assure that services could safely continue.