Avoiding the doctor’s office? Don’t!

Avoiding the doctor’s office? Don’t!

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed our everyday lives. In 2019 and even early 2020, the idea of wearing a mask every day, social distancing, or avoiding large gatherings rarely crossed our minds. Now that is the daily reality. As the world waits for the pandemic to come to end, we can all make a laundry list of how our lives and priorities have changed. But, there’s one priority that hasn’t and shouldn’t – your health.

While it’s yet to be seen what the post-pandemic landscape has in store, there are things everyone can do now to ensure a healthy year and beyond.

“We need to make sure basic things don’t slip through the cracks,” advises Dr. Jeff Bahr, chief medical group officer for Advocate Aurora Health.

Dr. Bahr says even as the pandemic continues, don’t skip the trip to your doctor’s office. Keeping these appointments are vital for your long-term health.

“To my knowledge, nobody has a Safe Care Promise like ours that offers virtual check-ins, social distancing, COVID-19 screenings, enhanced cleaning, and masking. We are adhering to standards and staying on top of the science,” says Dr. Bahr.

There are four key areas Dr. Bahr advises to prioritize now and in the post-pandemic world – management of chronic conditions, health screenings, immunizations, and behavioral health.

While COVID-19 consumes the world, we continue to battle other illnesses and diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a litany of other chronic conditions that require screenings, on-going management, and check-ins with clinicians. Some of this can be done through virtual visits, but seeing your doctor in-person is necessary as well.

“We can educate our patients about diseases through a virtual visit, but ultimately we still to check your blood pressure in person or get the blood to check your cholesterol. We can do part of it virtually, but we still need that lab data,” explains Dr. Bahr.

It’s not just about treatment and management. It’s also about prevention.

“Monitoring and managing hypertension is critical in preventing stroke,” Dr. Bahr gives as an example.

Maintaining your appointments and in-person visits with your doctor ensures your health risk factors are being assessed and screenings can be done. Ultimately, this assists with health needs related to common conditions connected to stroke, breast health, colorectal health, diabetes, heart health, lung health, sleep apnea, and more.

For younger members of the family, Dr. Bahr says those regular visits to the doctor not only make sure health conditions are being checked but also ensure immunizations are completed on schedule and milestones are being met.

Still, the focus shouldn’t solely be physical health, but behavioral health as well. Dr. Bahr says we can’t let mental health suffer and that it should truly be a major priority for everyone – no matter their age. Fortunately, prioritizing behavioral health doesn’t require a trip to a clinic. It can be managed and treated from the comfort of your home.

“It’s critical to take care of your mental health and it’s amenable to the virtual world,” says Dr. Bahr. “The majority of our behavioral health visits transitioned to virtual seamlessly.”

In the end, don’t delay your care. As we work towards a post-pandemic world, Dr. Bahr recommends starting a conversation now with your provider to ensure your health needs are being met in a way that’s comfortable for you.

“We have options. We have solutions. Use your relationship with us to work on a solution,” he says.

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. It’s nice to say “come and see your doctor”. But when they want to make every visit virtual (even a yearly physical) that is not really quality patient care! It’s difficult to do a blood pressure check, to verify med requirements, over the phone!

  2. I agree with Deb. I received a call from my doctor’s office to apparently see if I should come in the office to be seen based on my reasoning for making an appointment. It made me feel like my concerns were not important.

About the Author

LeeAnn Betz
LeeAnn Betz

LeeAnn Betz, health enews contributor, is a media relations manager for Advocate Aurora Health. She is a former TV news executive producer with a background in investigations, consumer news and in-depth storytelling. Outside of work, she enjoys CrossFit, baking, finding a good cup of coffee and being a mom.