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London-area COVID-19 patients being supported and monitored through virtual clinic

A team of doctors at London Health Sciences Centre in southern Ontario created the Urgent COVID-19 Care Clinic, which tracks diagnosed patients to ensure they are admitted as soon as they need hospital care.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
July 08, 2020
Dr. Marko Mrkobrada, one of the physicians who helped create the Urgent COVID-19 Care Clinic. Photo: LHSC.

Once a COVID-19 patient is diagnosed, they need to monitor themselves carefully for signs that it’s time to get to a hospital, such as shortness of breath. Doctors at London Health Sciences Centre learned from research that many patients can be experiencing low blood oxygen even before they notice those symptoms. So they created the Urgent COVID-19 Care Clinic, which sets out a protocol for local COVID-19 patients to follow, including checking their oxygen levels regularly with a pulse oximeter that is sent out to them immediately after diagnosis. Patients are taught to use the oximeter during a virtual consultation with one of the clinic’s doctors, who also walks them through what to watch out for and when to call for help. If a patient never becomes seriously ill, they can simply recover at home.

But if a virtual clinic patient does need to be admitted to hospital, they bypass the hospital’s emergency department and are taken directly to their room and provided with PPE, which prevents them from potentially exposing other patients and health care workers. The clinic doctors have partnered with specialists including cardiologists, otolaryngologists, neurologists, and psychologists. They hope to add physiotherapists and dieticians to their list of collaborators soon and are continuing to expand their capacity in the event of a second wave of infections.

Source: London Health Sciences Centre

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