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Reopening Your Dermatology Practice

Step 5: Determine your pre-visit workflow along with COVID-19 screening questionnaire and steps to minimize patient contact


  1. Prior to arrival for an appointment or on the day before the appointment, check with the patient if he/she has developed any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath) or loss of taste or smell. Additionally, ask the patient if he/she has had any recent close contacts with patients either diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19. Consider using a screening tool. If the patient has symptoms or recent possible exposures, the patient should be rescheduled for non-urgent medical or surgical services.

  2. Instruct the patient to come to your practice alone. If unable to arrive alone, suggest the individual accompanying the patient wait in the car or outside the office for the duration of the appointment. Also, advise the patient that cloth face coverings are now highly recommended by the CDC for all persons when they go out in public. Due to additional screening activities, allow extra time upon arrival.

  3. Once the patient arrives, ask about the presence of flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, or shortness of breath), loss of taste or smell and/or contact with possible COVID-19 patients. Consider non-contact temperature screening (CDC defines 100.0+ degrees F as fever). If findings suggest possibility of COVID-19 infection, refer the patient to their primary care physician for evaluation and reschedule their appointment to a later date. Screen any accompanying individuals who visit the practice as well.

  4. Consider creating as much of a paperless check-in process as you can. Securely email HIPAA notice of privacy practice forms in advance to the patient or ask the patient to complete all their required pre-visit paperwork online through your patient portal.

  5. Practice social distancing when you greet patients and staff with a nod, smile, and/or wave. Do not shake hands or hug.

  6. Determine if any procedures being done that day will require additional PPE such as ablative laser procedures or dermabrasion. Most dermatologic procedures are NOT believed to generate aerosols or droplets.

  7. Some states may restrict procedures requiring PPE, so you may need to assess with your state public health agency which procedures are permitted during the pandemic. For example, phototherapy is normally considered a procedure but does not deplete PPE so you may want to prioritize phototherapy visits.


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