Hospitals, medical clinics and physicians are offering this kind of information to varying degrees. In the New York City metropolitan area, Mount Sinai Health System has launched a comprehensive “Safety Hub” on its website featuring extensive information and videos.
Mount Sinai also encourages physicians to reach out to patients with messages tailored to their conditions. People “want to hear directly from their providers,” said Karen Wish, the system’s chief marketing officer.
Don’t hesitate to press for more details, said Dr. Allen Kachalia, senior vice president of patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Where people get in trouble is when they’re afraid to bring their concerns forward.”
Wendy Hayum-Gross, 57, a counselor who lives in Naperville, Ill., had been waiting since mid-March to get blood tests that would help doctors diagnose the underlying cause of a new condition, a goiter. A few weeks ago, she decided it was time.
The hospital lab she went to, operated by Edward-Elmhurst Health, told Hayum-Gross to wear a mask and gave her a number to call when she arrived in the parking lot. Outside the front door, she was met by a staffer who took her temperature, asked several screening questions and gave her hand sanitizer.
“Once I passed that, a phlebotomist met me on the other side of the door and took me to a chair that was still wet with disinfectant. She wore a mask and gloves, and there was no one else around,” Hayum-Gross said. “When I saw the precautions they had put in place and the almost military precision with which they were carrying them out, I felt much better.”
Marjorie Helsel DeWert, 67, of Athens, Ohio, was similarly impressed when she visited her dentist recently and noticed circular yellow signs on the floor of the office, spaced six feet apart, indicating where people should stand. Staffers had even put pens used to fill out paperwork in individual containers and arranged to disinfect them after use.