by Dr. Robert Farmer, Shoreline Medical –
Many have noticed that Shoreline Medical’s Sidney and Brentwood Bay offices are now closed to most in-person patient contact. This is a crucial part of reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19, which we believe can happen from close contact with an infected person – even one without obvious symptoms. However, by no means does your need for healthcare stop, and we have systems in place to continue your care.
First, we are able to conduct many appointments by telephone or through video conference. If you have a smart phone or tablet, or a laptop with a webcam, you can see your doctor face-to-face through a website link. Please see our website (www.shorelinemedical.ca) or ask our front desk staff for help with virtual appointments. I find they really do make visits much more personal.
We continue to develop processes to handle many formerly paper-based tasks virtually. Electronic prescription faxes can be sent directly to your pharmacy from a virtual appointment. Digital photos and some documents can also be sent from patient to physician via the Health Myself online component of Shoreline Medical. Please ask our reception staff for a sign-up link to Health Myself if you have not done so already.
Lastly, we continue to develop systems for in-person visits when required. Not all medicine can be done without face-to-face contact; the physical exam can be an important part of new and undifferentiated problems. At the time of this writing (mid-April 2020), when required, we are able to refer patients – sometimes in the same day – from a virtual visit to a subsequent in-person exam. Our walk-in clinic is still operating using this same virtual visit approach, with in-person referrals as necessary. Local and regional emergency departments also remain open to all patients who need immediate medical help. Blood work and imaging tests remain feasible when necessary; speak with your family doctor about which tests can be delayed and which should be done sooner.
COVID-19 prevention is a critical public health activity in which we must all take part, and we are grateful for your understanding and accommodation of our adaptations to primary care at present. However, please know that your health –regardless of this virus – is our top priority, and shouldn’t be neglected because of it. We are available on much the same schedules as before, and we encourage you to book appointments with your family doctor as usual, and as needed.
Thank you very much for working together with us.