Possible solutions for local polyclinics during COVID-19
Barbadian polyclinics are major healthcare providers for both rural and urban communities. With the high cost of private medical care, it is the only solution for many working and middle class families.
In recent times, as the island’s businesses and institutions return to regular operational hours, Barbadians are slowly returning to old routines. The Barbados Advocate has observed that at the Branford Taitt Polyclinic, in particular, there are usually large crowds gathered outside in the mornings.
Most Barbadians are wearing their masks, but few are practising physical distancing as they wait to gain entry to the clinic.
With the summer heat and humidity, individuals who are elderly and immunosuppressive standing and, in some cases sitting, to be evaluated, this situation is less than ideal.
The 2020 pandemic is unprecedented in many ways. It has disrupted economies and century-old systems and policies. One social network to be reviewed is the process in which patients are seen at the local polyclinics.
Introduce online health services and pharmacy pick-ups
All polyclinics should have a designated website that allows patients to review their appointments, register as walk-in patients (whenever possible) and check on the status of refills. Patients should have the option of signing in to the website to look at their pending test results or see notifications for upcoming appointments.
A universal database for patient records
Another challenge for patients is when they wish to see results from past tests but they are not available at the time of visit. Many patients often lose medical information as they visit doctors and other medical professionals in both private and public health care systems. A universal database that tracks a patients’ medical history from birth to adulthood will help doctors to monitor underlying conditions better and treat any new existing ones.
The advantages of these two new initiatives are to reduce the large number of persons visiting the clinics daily and waiting times for specific services at the local polyclinics.