Patients flock to specialists with COVID-19 questions

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting medical specialists in uncharted waters as patients come to them with questions the physicians don't always know how to answer, reports The New York Times

Many of these patients do not have a primary care physician and are instead turning to their specialists for information. While physicians specializing in cardiology, pulmonology or obstetrics may have existing training relevant for COVID-19, the situation poses new challenges for  dermatologists, ophthalmologists and endocrinologists, among other specialties.

Most specialists have limited in-person visits to only those that are absolutely necessary and instead spend most of their time fielding phone calls from patients. Scott Isaacs, MD, an Atlanta-based endocrinologist, said he's received a flood of calls from his diabetes patients who have questions about how to get tested for COVID-19 and whether they should stockpile extra medications during the pandemic. 

"We're hearing a lot of anxieties from specialists who don't know what the right thing to do is for their patients," Megan Ranney, MD, a Rhode Island-based emergency physician, told NYT

Representatives from various medical associations told the publication they are working to create and share resources to better support physicians during the pandemic.


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More articles on integration and physician issues:
Nearly half of surveyed primary care practices say they don't have capacity for COVID-19 testing
Physicians take drastic measures to protect families from coronavirus
Primary care recruitment: How 3 organizations are moving the needle

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