What the ‘new normal’ could look when you visit the doctor

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — When the coronavirus pandemic is over, what will everyday activities look like? When it comes to the doctor’s office, one Marquette practice says it will be different than the way it used to be.

Singletrack Health says the days of sitting next to people in a waiting room, sharing things like magazines and newspapers and toys for children are over.

“There are some things that are just gone and never going to come back,” said Dr. Jennifer Dehlin of Singletrack Health.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dehlin said the office saw between 35 to 45 patients going through each day.

Then in March, the practice changed day-to-day operations.

“We realized, of course, very quickly that we couldn’t have anyone that was sick in our building,” Dehlin said. “We set up plans in order to be able to see them out in our parking lot, curbside and having us wear appropriate protective gear.”

They also implemented telehealth, which Dehlin says will be used into the future.

“Right now, we’re probably doing about 80% of our work over telehealth,” Dehlin said. “We’re basically looking at not changing anything too drastically as time is moving on here. There are some things that we’ve delayed for now that need to be done and we’re going to have to. Pap smears can’t be done over telehealth, shouldn’t be done in a parking lot. There is some work to done this summer with some of those things that are going to be coming in office. But we’re really hoping to maintain the telehealth and curbside capabilities because there are some things that don’t require a touching type visit and so really they shouldn’t.”

Dehlin said that would be things like mental health visits or following up with lab test results.

“Following our blood sugars for our diabetic patients, helping somebody with weight management, helping manage high blood pressure,” she listed.