Proficient Health’s Chief Medical Officer Weighs in on Pediatric Surgery & COVID-19

Proficient Health's Chief Medical Officer Weighs in on Pediatric Surgery & COVID-19
Dr. Hoover, Proficient Health Chief Medical Officer, is a practicing surgeon and director of Pediatric Surgery Outpatient Services at WakeMed Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hoover shares how WakeMed Pediatric Surgery is moving forward through COVID-19:
Pediatric Surgery does not stop with a pandemic. We cannot shut the doors and tell our patients we will see you in a few months or tell our referring pediatricians/providers that we are not available. We must be able to take care of our patients (new and existing) but we must do it in new way. We must forge a new path of care over familiar ground so we can care for our patients.
Here is how we at WakeMed Pediatric Surgery are choosing to provide service and access and continue to engage with our patients.
  1. Mimimizing in-person contact by leveraging technology. Utilize video and telephone encounters.
  2. Dividing our team into 3 distinct units – A. Hospital team (Call surgeon, resident, nurse practitioner) B. Clinic team ( Clinic assigned Surgeon, Clinic Nurse, Clinic MA) and C. the No Person to Person Contact Interaction team (NPCIT) (Surgeon working from home, Nurse not in clinical area, referral specialist)
  3. All referals are reviewed immediately by the NPCIT and level of engagement is made based on clinical information. The surgeon determines when and how the patient/family should be engaged. This sometimes requires the surgeon to contact the referring provider and/or the family right then to obtain all relevant information. If an interaction with the patient/family does occur via video/telephone a visit is created in the EHR for the NPCIT provider.
  4. If the NPCIT determines the patient needs to be seen in the office immediately the patient is handed off to the clinic team and they schedule the patient to be seen on the same day. If surgery can be scheduled without an in-person visit (determined by same day telephone or video call) then the surgery is scheduled ASAP for the surgeon who is responsible for call on the day of scheduled surgery.
  5. All elective non-urgent referrals are offered either a Video or Telephone visit.
  6. All interactions are logged within the EHR and detailed accounting for later reconcilation is kept in the office.
Since we started this process, we have been able to triage patients effectively and schedule urgent surgeries without delay, minimize person to person contact, and see many new patients virtually and start the process of evaluation.