I think I have the best job in the world. I see some patients, supervise research fellows, and get to sit around to read and write, often in my backyard “office” if it is a nice day. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has changed my routine somewhat. I used to travel a lot; now I, quite happily, spend a lot more time at home with my wife. And, perhaps like a lot of folks, I’m thinking of doing more gardening.
For the past month, most of the patient care I have done has been by telephone or video visits. It’s worked out great for me. As a salaried employee of a university medical center, my monthly paycheck has come uninterrupted. My stress level is no higher now than before the pandemic, and I had time to binge watch all of Star Trek: Picard.
But, oh, how different it must be for the administrators of our department and medical center! With a situation in rapid flux, they are constantly having to modify our office procedures and staffing. People are being assigned and reassigned to new tasks weekly, if not daily. Decisions are being made—such as furloughs—that have painful effects on employee lives and, because people are empathetic, painful effects on the administrators too. Managing the operation when revenues will not come close to what was budgeted cannot be fun. I do not envy their responsibilities, but I appreciate how much they are doing to keep the ship afloat.
For those of you in administrative positions in your practice, this issue has a lot to offer. We have articles on what to consider before implementing teledermatology in your practice on page 33 (for my video visits, I like to have a stethoscope wrapped prominently around my neck; I think it gives patients a clear sense they are speaking with a doctor), working with a recruiter to fill staff vacancies (page 22), HIPAA privacy and security concerns with using telemedicine (page 20), thoughts on value-based care as a reimbursement strategy for dermatologists (page 30), and the potential of JAK inhibitors as a treatment for COVID-19 (page 37).
Things may never be the same, but we will adapt. That’s what we do.