COVID 19 Fiveways Surgery Update 29 April 2020
In this email I will discuss:
- The excellent progress we have made as a community to reign in the spread of COVID19
- How important maintaining contact with your GP is during these times
- How we are supporting our community during this difficult time
Thank you for all the messages of support. Our clinic is continuing to provide tele-health consultations and face to face appointments. It is still helpful to triage our face to face consultations, so our receptionists may ask you to speak to the doctor before booking in to see us face to face – even if we need to see you urgently on the same day.
We are continuing to provide influenza vaccinations and scheduled immunisations for children in a safe manner, minimising unnecessary patient contact in our waiting room. To do this we may ask you to be flexible in finding a suitable time for your appointment. We have recently received additional private and government funded influenza vaccines, so if you haven’t received yours yet, please get in touch to book an appointment. We also have handy 60mL Hand sanitizer available for purchase – for details please ask at reception.
While most people are working from home and telehealth increases patient access to our care, we have decided to temporarily close on Saturdays. If this causes any distress or inconvenience please let us know.
I have been speaking to my colleague Dr Murray Bingham at St Lucia Village Medical Centre and we have agreed to collaborate to best serve our community. Any of our patients requiring care on a Saturday are welcome to book an appointment there during the next few weeks. Go to http://www.stluciavillagemedical.com.au/
‘The hammer and the dance’
We have been very fortunate to have had a well coordinated and timely implementation of our national pandemic plan. An excellent article, found at the link below, shows what we need to do to consolidate this early success.
We are now entering the dance phase, whereby we need to make sure we are not complacent about physical distancing, testing, and responding aggressively and early to any subsequent waves of infection. Given the exponential growth potential of this virus, things can get out of hand very quickly.
We will need to work out new ways of doing things – including in our clinic. I can assure you I am devising new ways of doing “business as usual” for then next 12-18 months and beyond.
Celebrating our success
We also need to celebrate the excellent success we have achieved and be hopeful for the new world to come. If we achieve aggressive suppression, or even elimination, our lives can go back to some semblance of their former selves, assuming we maintain strict border controls. I would encourage all of our community to understand their role in maintaining suppression of the virus.
I check the Covid19 data daily. You will some useful information at https://www.covid19data.com.au/
The following charts from that website give me great comfort.
We now have less than 1000 active cases with more than 5000 recovered.
Our testing numbers remain high, while our number of new cases continues to remain at very low numbers with reassuringly low signs of community transmission. In Queensland only 42 cases or 0.0042% of cases per capita are from locally-acquired transmissions.
To achieve timely identification of potential community clusters we need more data from the community. It is for this reason that I support the use of the COVID Safe app. More information is available here – https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app
We need 40% or more of the community using the app for it to be effective.
Waves of a pandemic – associated impacts can be worse than the disease
Courtesy Twitter Victor Tseng https://twitter.com/VectorSting/status/1244671755781898241/photo/1
Expert advice, now more accessible than ever via telehealth
Now, more than ever, it is clear that expert advice matters. As your specialist GPs, we strive to keep up to date with evidence based practices and utilise our individual and collective experience to serve our community. With your permission we will discuss or refer complicated clinical issues using our network of specialists so that you can receive the most timely and best evidence based care.
In order to facilitate your engagement with us we have decided to bulk bill all telephone or video consultations less than 15 minutes for the next fortnight. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. This represents a 55% reduction on our usual fees. Face to face services will be charged according to our usual fee structure.
We believe it is now very safe to have appropriately triaged face to face services in General Practice. We need to separate patients with symptoms of possible viral infections from well patients, so it is a mandatory expectation that patients self declare any symptoms such as a scratchy or sore throat, loss of smell, itchy eyes, runny nose, cough, sneezing or fever. We will then determine the safest way to assess and treat you.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, our specialist training college, has just launched a communication campaign to remind the community that expert, specialist General Practice advice matters. You can find more information here – https://www.expertadvicematters.com.au/
To make sure we do our part to reduce the chance of poor health outcomes from lack of access to chronic disease and preventative health, we will be reaching out to our patients with chronic diseases to create or update their Chronic disease management plans.
Supporting Our Community
Excellent General Practice or Primary Care can be defined by the principles in the image below.
Image courtesy of https://www.pcpcc.org/about/shared-principles
Since 1945, Fiveways Surgery has been striving to serve our community in the most caring and effective manner. I have been privileged enough to care for some of our past practice principals and I am proud to continue the tradition of excellence they established.
It is clear that we will have to evolve to meet the challenges posed by a pandemic and post pandemic world. While the future is not clear, I am sure we will find a path which will allow us to continue to serve our community.
Doing this will require us to provide safe and effective care for urgent and chronic issues. During this time it is crucial that our patients keep up to date with their chronic disease management, so we ask you to make a time to discuss your chronic disease plans with your regular GP as soon as possible.
Chronic disease plans
In order to address your chronic diseases, you need to understand:
- What chronic health conditions you have.
- How you can measure them, what targets you should aim for, and how well controlled these conditions are.
- How you can improve the control and reduce the complications associated with them.
- What medications and activities are recommended for each condition.
We have designed a specific template to address these issues and will work with your specialists and supporting allied health practitioners to improve your health. Many of these allied health and specialists are now conducting telehealth consultations.
The process will take place over two consultations. An initial consultation to explain the process and determine your health priorities and a subsequent one to discuss the chronic disease plan.
To assist us with this process we would like you to email our Health Coordinator at email@example.com – we will then be in touch to arrange a telehealth consultation. Alternatively, call to arrange an appointment with your GP.
To allow you to engage with us, address your health concerns, and optimise your chronic disease care we are offering bulk billed (no gap) short telehealth appointment and chronic disease plans.
Please call our reception, book online or email our Health Coordinator today at firstname.lastname@example.org
Technology enhanced care, iHealth Australia and Welio
As many of you know, I have been working in eHealth since I began my PhD in 2002 investigating using eHealth to support village clinics in India and other low income communities. I was also involved in winning the $10M funding for, and developing, two GP Super Clinics for the University of Queensland – https://www.uqhealthcare.org.au/ . Since then, I have worked in many key roles in eHealth and telemedicine before embarking on my own technology start up called Welio. Welio will enable patients to have video/audio consultations and message consultations with their usual clinician(s). I am also developing an enhanced model of primary care, utilising a broader team of allied health clinicians and the appropriate and sensitive use of technology, to increase your access to and engagement with your team of health professionals. Fiveways Surgery will be the first iHealth Centre within the iHealth Australia group and will spearhead the development of iHealth Solutions for complex and chronic health issues. I will share more information about this in the coming weeks as we develop and then launch our new website. This will not change the personal, expert care you receive. Rather, it will combine the best of the traditional care you know so well, with technology that will help you take control of your own health issues. I hope this email finds you well. If you, your family or your friends need any support, we are here to help. We feel truly privileged to serve our local community. Thank you for your support during these challenging times. With my warmest regards Jared Dr Jared Dart
Director iHealth Australia