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What Doctor's Appointments Look Like in the Age of COVID-19

What Doctor's Appointments Look Like in the Age of COVID-19

Apr 17, 2020

Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.

As many hospitals are postponing elective surgeries and restricting visitors to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may be wondering how to prioritize your health and get the medical care you need. From sick visits to follow-ups and everything in between, here’s how to schedule appointments and access care for conditions other than COVID-19.

Primary Care for Non-Urgent Medical Issues

How can I visit with a doctor?

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group physicians are offering virtual visits and audio-only phone appointments for established patients. Call 832-699-1610 to schedule your virtual clinic visit.

Our team is available to provide a variety of services online or via phone, including:

  • Acute illness care
  • Minor injury treatment
  • Disease management
  • Mental health assistance
  • Referral to a specialist

However, certain patients require in-person appointments, such as post-procedure, post-partum, and post-hospitalization follow-ups. All in-person office visits are reviewed by the physician on a case-by-case basis, and patients are screened prior to arrival for any COVID-19 symptoms. If asymptomatic, patients are offered a mask on arrival and are roomed with minimal waiting time.

Should I reschedule my appointment?

All routine and non-urgent appointments that do not require hands-on physical examination should be postponed or performed virtually to maintain continuity of care. Patients who are scheduled only for annual preventive visits need to reschedule for future dates.

Can I bring someone with me to my in-person appointment?

If a patient requires assistance due to special circumstances, it’s encouraged to notify the clinic in advance so we can properly screen all parties for COVID-19 symptoms prior to arrival and provide any further instructions. Any individuals with COVID-19-like symptoms will be instructed not to accompany the patient during their appointment.

We are taking extra precautions to protect our patients, families, and staff members during this pandemic. Overall, limiting the number of people who enter our clinic helps us limit the spread of the virus. View our enhanced, system-wide visitor policy for more information.

Do I need to take any precautions when attending in-person appointments?

Recently, the CDC updated their recommendations for wearing a cloth face covering in public settings when you cannot keep 6 feet between you and others. Therefore, due to the highly contagious nature of the virus and to minimize transmission from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic patients, we support the use of face masks or face coverings while maintaining physical distancing during in-person appointments.

Our clinics have established guidelines and protocols to protect the health of our patients and their family members, along with our clinical staff members and physicians. To maintain safety, we instruct patients to call in advance of their appointments if they have any symptoms of illness, COVID-19-like or otherwise, for clinical advice and next steps.

Certain precautions to take before and during your appointment:

  • If you must go outside, wear a mask when in public and during your appointment.
  • Focus on keeping your hands away from your face.
  • Maintain physical distancing while in the facility as well.

Women's Health and Prenatal Appointments

Should I reschedule my appointment?

At this time, we recommend continuing with regular prenatal appointments and rescheduling well-woman exams to future dates. Even during a pandemic, regular prenatal visits are important to keep you and your baby healthy. For the safety of our patients, we’re offering both video and in-person appointments.

Ask your OB/GYN about their virtual options and when to schedule your prenatal visits. Always wear a mask to your in-person appointments, and don’t come into the office if you are sick unless advised by your physician.

Can I bring someone with me to my in-person appointment?

Currently, no one is allowed to accompany patients to their appointments with the exception of ultrasound visits. During ultrasounds, you may have one person over the age of 18 with you. These policies are in place to minimize risk of COVID-19 spread to you, your family, other patients, and our staff.

Pregnancy is an exciting time, and we understand how hard it is to come to your appointment alone. Feel free to ask your doctor if you may video or phone chat with family during visits to keep them involved in the pregnancy journey.

Are you offering hospital tours or prenatal classes?

In order to maintain the health of our delivering families and visitors, we are temporarily postponing all tours of our Family Birthing Centers as well as classes and support groups. If you have any questions, be sure to reach out to your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group OB/GYN.

Read more about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts your pregnancy.

Specialist Care

How can I meet with a specialist?

Some specialists have shifted to the frontlines to care for COVID-19 patients, while many continue to serve patients in their areas of expertise. If you need to visit with a specialist, call their office to find out how they are conducting appointments during this time. Many are currently offering virtual visits via video conferencing, but certain conditions may require an in-person appointment.

How can I find a specialist?

If you’re not sure what kind of specialist you need to consult, ask a primary care physician via virtual visit or phone appointment. They can assess your symptoms and refer you to an appropriate specialist.

Use our Find a Doctor tool to get in touch with a specialist or call one of our clinics. Click on a specialty below to view a list of our locations:

If you need to see a doctor for any reason, you can rest assured that the dedicated teams at St. Luke’s Health will help you get the care you need. If you experience any life-threatening symptoms, call 911 immediately.