#CallYourPhysician: Encouraging Patients to Seek Medical Care during COVID-19

MCMS has heard from our physician members that a significant cohort of their patient population has expressed reticence about seeking medical care during the pandemic. Physicians know better than anyone how dangerous putting off routine medical care can be, let alone care management for chronic conditions or a new developing condition. These challenges were reflected in MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society’s most recent edition of Maryland Medicine, which is temporarily digital.

In the coming weeks, MCMS will launch a #CallYourPhysician campaign to encourage patients throughout the county to check-in with their physician about their health and to continue complying with key medical care, such as vaccination schedules.

While messaging will be different for each practice based on telemedicine services offered, patient population, specialty, etc., now is the time to communicate with patients about the importance of routine care, and to send reminders about vaccine scheduling. The communications are an excellent opportunity to emphasize the precautions your practice has taken to ensure the safety of patients who visit during the pandemic.

MCMS has created these graphics (1, 2) to encourage patients to seek care, and will pair them with the following key messages. Practices are welcome to use these, if helpful:

  • Routine medical care is an important way to safeguard your health, and that of your family. #CallYourPhysician to check-in about your next check-up.
  • Skipping checkups and vaccines can be dangerous. Physicians’ offices are open and taking every precaution to keep patients safe. #CallYourPhysician today!
  • Don’t put off medical care if you have concerning signs or symptoms. Local physicians offer video visits and have implemented strict safety measures in their practices. #CallYourPhysician
There have also been many articles published recently about the importance of seeking medical care that you might want to share:
Delayed surgical care is an area of particular concern, with articles exclusively targeted toward the topic:

Another strategy to improve participation and interest in telehealth calls among your patient population is post and share guides on how to prepare for the appointment. This can help alleviate patient worries. Here are some samples that demonstrate telemedicine preparedness tips for different specialty areas: pediatrics, psychiatry, dermatology.

Finally, many practices are posting articles on what to expect when patients do arrive in the office, such as when certain types of care can be rescheduled, if visitors are permitted, etc. (Examples: 1, 2, 3.) For additional reopening related resources, please visit our toolkit.

Patients respond best to the expertise of their physicians. It is because of this that MCMS is seeking physician members to volunteer to film quick, twenty second videos on their phones to help us explain to patients why seeking care is so important. If you would be willing to appear, please contact us.