Last updated : November 7, 2020
Briefly: There is presently a greatly reduced number of people in the office (reduced by a factor of about 3). We offer televisits for most return patients. We do not allow most accompanying persons, and we use social distancing, masks/gloves, disinfectant, and a powerful ventilation system.
As of the end of October 2020, the virus appears to be undergoing a "second wave" in Illinois, and we are continuing to use as many televisits as possible. We are very serious about wearing masks as well. Good information about the Covid-19 situation in Chicago can be found on the Illinois Dept of Health webpage. While Northwestern Medicine has a "Covid-19 hotline", the hotline takes about 1-2 hours to be answered. It is much more efficient to do a televisit with an immediate care.
Covid-19 is mainly a respiratory pathogen, and does not seem to be a common source of dizziness or hearing loss. Headaches are common however. We follow the steps recommended by the CDC to reduce the speed that it is transmitted, i.e. "flatten the curve", as well as go a bit beyond them.
What we are doing to keep everybody safe at Chicago Dizziness and Hearing:
We are physically in the office, seeing about 4 "live" patients a day/provider and doing a lot of televisits. Practically, considering the size of our clinic, it is usually easy to be socially distanced. We have a very powerful ventilation system that vents to the outside.
CDH reduced greatly reduced (by a factor of about 3) the number of people physically present in the clinic by using televisits (see below), and having accompanying people (for the most part), stay outside the clinic and use "facetime" or similar methods to "attend" the visit.
For everybody (patients and staff both), we require a mask (no bandana). There are no hand shakes. We take the temperature of all people entering the clinic (including staff) and send people home who have a temperature or symptoms suggestive of Covid-19. We use gloves so as to not touch patients directly with our hands. We wash hands and sanitize equipment between patients. Our waiting room is large and the chairs are widely spaced out.
We ask most acccompanying persons to wait outside the clinic -- usually this means in the car, although sometimes people find other places to hang out. Exceptions are made only when absolutely necessary. We allow all patients to use "facetime" or a similar smartphone app to allow their accompanying person to participate in the visit.
Two types of visits: regular, televisits
If come to visit us in person right now, you are a "regular visit". All new patients and about 1/3 of return patients are regular visits. We encourage very dizzy returns to visit in person, as it may be impossible to diagnose remotely. . However, we will continue to offer televisits to all return patients as long as health insurance permits.
We offer televisits -- i.e. smartphone or computer video appointments for situations such as once/year follow-up visits for Meniere's or migraine patients. We go through the same process as we do for "live" visits (i.e. get out your chart, go through our Epic EMR to see what has been going on with other doctors, discuss your symptoms with you, refill medications as needed), but we do not require you to be here in person.