Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic started, I have been offering telehealth visits to my patients, many of whom are elderly. Most of my patients have been able to adopt “video chat” technologies, such as Facetime, or Whatsapp or Medici video chat. However, some of my patients have struggled with technology. Therefore, over the first few weeks, I offered these patients an informal way of seeing me, outside my office – and I would meet them in their car. Rather than looking at them via a computer screen, I would look at them through the car window. My patients felt safe, and more comfortable, since they didn’t not have to leave their car. Now this has progressed to a more formal arrangement. I have obtained a permit from the local board of health, as well as the town building department to erect a commercial grade tent, in the rear parking lot of our building. My patients now drive to my office, and are directed to a “drive-thru tent” , where they park the car, turn off the ignition, and then are examined by me – whilst they in their car. My patient’s have been extremely satisfied with this service for those who are “video chat challenged”. I also have invited a few patients to my drive-thru, when I have not been able to clinically diagnose a lesion solely via video chat. Finally, on occasions, I am also using “close focus” binoculars, as a means of keeping a 6 foot distance but having a “magnified view” of their skin. Close focus binoculars, allow one to focus on an object at approximately 6 feet, as opposed to most binoculars which focus at least 50 feet away.
Helen A. Raynham, M.D.