Written by: Dr. Carla Garcia

Assuring Patients Post Covid 19

Many businesses are beginning to re-open. As we start back into our thermography practices it is important to remember that patients will return to the businesses where they feel safe. We have all been frightened into believing that we are risking viral attack if we step outside our homes. So…. we have to assure patients that our offices are clean, and we are doing everything in our power to protect both our patients and ourselves.

These are things we are doing in my clinics and I would love to hear any of your suggestions as well.

1. Cleaning

We clean every doorknob and handle and bathroom fixture after each client.

We have always wiped down door knobs and handles when somebody came in with the “sniffles”, but we did it surreptitiously, so that people would not feel offended. Now…. we let our patients know that we are scheduling appointments in such a way that we have time to clean between appointments.

2. Scheduling

We are scheduling time between each client to clean and to ensure that there are not too many people in our office at any one time. We advise our patients to arrive at their scheduled appointment time so that we can maintain a schedule that allows for physical distancing. (This means our “chatty” clients are kept on schedule – no matter the issue.)

3. PPE

We are providing masks to every patient. If they come in without a mask or simply don’t have them we give them one. They can keep it on during all breast screenings but make sure is doesn’t go below their chin. It should not obscure the neck region. Masks should cover the mouth AND nose. For head and neck images, we ask them to remove the mask and put it back on after the head and neck images have been taken.

I know it is difficult and expensive to buy disposable masks, if you can get them, so we are putting on our own masks and gloves and MAKING them. This is a temporary solution until masks are readily available. Be sure you are wearing a mask and gloves while making them.

This is a short video on how to make masks.

These are quite comfortable. Ray placed extra staples and reinforced the ends with scotch tape, so they are re-usable. He used one sheet of the select-a size paper towels. When we use them ourselves we spray them with alcohol and lay them out in the sun to dry for a few minutes. For personal use, you can line them with a disposable paper towel and use them multiple times (for personal use only).

Our thermographers wear a mask and protective goggles/ eyeglasses at all times.

This is an example of what we bought on Amazon but there are lots of others.

There are numerous ads for portable UV lights and ozone generators that can be used to sterilize a room after the clients are gone for the day. Both should be used with caution and you should not remain in the room while they are on.

We keep pump bottles of hand sanitizer in the reception area so that people can use them as needed. Using a recipe, we found online, we make our own hand sanitizer. It uses alcohol and aloe vera gel. Coconut oil for moisturizing can be added and you will find a recipe that works best for you. We bought the ceramic pump dispensers at the dollar store.

Dr. Peter reminded me that you can wrap the camera handles and doorknobs with saran wrap. This can be changed as needed.

I am sure we are forgetting something, but it is a start.

4. Clear Patient Communication

Just as important as putting these practices into place – is letting your patients/ clients know that you are using them. Whether you post it on your website or facebook page or text individual patients or send emails – you must let potential patients know that you are ready to provide them a safe environment while they do thermography.

As we are released from “stay-at-home” protocols and people return to work and their regular health check-ups, more of them will be choosing thermography because it is non-contact imaging without any ionizing radiation. We will forever remain aware of “physical distancing”, hand washing and the possible spread of a contagion. We believe people will choose thermography because of this.

Wishing you success as you move past the quarantine.

Please be well and stay safe.
Dr. Carla Garcia