PartridgeGP | Telehealth | COVID19 | Physical Examination

We all want to provide great general practice care. Most of this comes from time, curiosity, and interest in our patients. When we turn our attention and medical skills to their problems and issues we do better work.

Physical examination has been around since antiquity and is a useful adjunct to taking a great history. Much like over investigating, physical examination is not always needed.

General practice is so much more than compliance and paperwork.

So much can be pared away to reveal the essence of what we do.

In the time of #COVID19, perhaps we can chip away to reveal our statues of David rather than be inflexible blocks of government marble.

More ideas here!

Another set of thoughts, better expressed…

It’s time for emergency physicians to put away our stethoscopes

By Jeremy Samuel Faust

Since 1986, federal law has mandated that any patient requesting emergency medical care must be evaluated by a physician to assess for any threatening conditions. The law, often referred to as the “anti-dumping law,” requires that physicians perform a medical screening evaluation, including a physical examination.

Over time, the interpretation of this mandate has slowly expanded, not by law so much as by custom. This is why emergency rooms have become our nation’s safety net for care. Despite increasing popularity of urgent-care clinics and telehealth, many patients who could have safely been cared for elsewhere still end up in emergency rooms.

While many of us embrace that mission with pride, it is dangerous and wasteful in the coronavirus pandemic. We need to course-correct to keep everyone safe. Exposing patients to emergency rooms is now far riskier than it was before. In turn, health-care workers must assume that all patients are infected. This forces us to blow through personal protective equipment that we desperately need so that we do not become infected ourselves.

Over the past few decades, we have learned that many, if not most, of our physical examination maneuvers provide little reliable information. In most cases, the information we need can be obtained simply by interviewing patients. But old habits die hard, and patients seem to love our stethoscopes. In our current situation, that simply won’t do.

We need the federal government to allow us to perform medical screening exams via video or through glass doors, even for patients entering emergency rooms. The removal of the requirement that we evaluate every patient by hand will save resources and keep everyone safer.

In recent meetings and phone calls with stakeholders, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has signaled that it is seriously considering making this change. But it has not materialized, and time is of the essence. The moment to act is now.

Jeremy Samuel Faust is an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Division of Health Policy and Public Health, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Typhoid Mary and COVID Colin

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Typhoid Mary was a cook who moved from one rich employer to another in New York and Long Island, infecting seven households with typhoid between 1900 and 1907 before doctors traced her as the common cause of the infections. The key point is that she was in good health herself throughout. When confronted, she indignantly refused to submit stool samples for analysis, until eventually imprisoned for this refusal.

After three years she was released while promising not to work as a cook. Unhappy with the low wages of a laundress, she changed her name, resumed cooking and resumed causing typhoid. After a 1915 outbreak in a hospital for women in which 25 people fell ill and two died, Mary Mallon/Brown was again arrested and kept in quarantine for the rest of her life, refusing to have her gall bladder removed. When she died in 1938, an autopsy revealed a thriving colony of typhoid bacteria in her gall bladder. For some genetic reason they had not caused any symptoms in her.

Clear!

What is the current understanding of the ability to return to work and risk of reinfection/further complications for clinicians who have recovered from COVID-19?
The department will determine when a confirmed case no longer requires to be isolated in hospital or in their own home, in consultation with the treating clinician. This will be actively considered when all of the following criteria are met:
• The patient has been afebrile for the previous 72 hours, and
• At least ten days have elapsed after the onset of the acute illness, and
• There has been a noted improvement in symptoms, and
• A risk assessment has been conducted by the department and deemed no further criteria are needed.
Apparent re-infection has been reported in a small number of cases. However, most of these reports describe patients having tested positive within 7-14 days after apparent recovery. Immunological studies indicate that patients recovering from COVID-19 mount a strong antibody response. It is likely that positive tests soon after recovery represent persisting excretion of viral RNA, and it should be noted that PCR tests cannot distinguish between “live” virus and noninfective RNA.
For further information, go to the department’s website and see Advice for clinicians / epidemiology!

Stay home | Save lives

Now, if you really really must leave home…

Flu Vaccine

Coronavirus and PartridgeGP

A new Coronavirus (similar to the common cold) has broken out in Wuhan, China. Many people seem to be worried.

The Symptoms

For now, our advice mirrors State and Federal Health advice:

UPDATED CORONAVIRUS ADVICE

Coronavirus

Call @PartridgeGP for a conversation, not to attend. Patients can also call Health Direct on 1800 022 222


If patients have travelled to China in the past 14 days and have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or breathlessness, avoid contact with other
people, do not go into crowded places, or take public transport.

Patients should not attend general practice. They should be referred over the phone to the hospital emergency department and the ED should be informed to prepare for the patient’s arrival. The only testing should be in a public health setting.

Health Direct has a team of public health doctors for triage and assessment and referral to emergency. Public health will notify emergency departments in advance.

If patients at risk attend PartridgeGP this is what we will do:

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/pages/coronavirus-clinical-guidance.aspx

If you have cold and flu type symptoms or fever AND have recently travelled overseas to China or been with someone who has…SEE THE ADVICE ABOVE