I hope you are continuing to be happy and healthy. As I am sure you are well aware, the good news is that here in London, Ontario, we are now in Stage 3 of reopening.
Even though Ontario is reopening, I am taking a more conservative approach to returning to normal to ensure that you stay in good health. We're not out of this pandemic just yet!
I just wanted to take the time now to share a couple of updates with you.
A new website for easier access: drarichard.ca
Any official updates directly related to your care and our relationship will be posted in the "Practice News" section.
Anything else that isn't directly related to the practice will be posted in the "Blog" section. For instance, I recently started a new project called "Origin Stories" where I talk with interesting people and how they got started.
If you have any ideas for improving the website, please let me know! I am all ears.
Uninsured services page on my new website
I recently had a new page called "Uninsured services" added to my website that will explain what is covered and what is not.
For instance, a lot of patients choose to pay a yearly block fee of $50 so that they get to have their prescriptions automatically filled every 3 months without an appointment. This is an uninsured service, and instead of paying $50 a year for this, you could instead book an appointment with me every three months to get your prescription refills.
If you would like, you can pay online by credit card, or e-Transfer, cheque, or cash.
New hours: Tuesday to Friday, 12pm to 5pm; Saturday, 2pm to 4pm
The pandemic has affected us all in different ways. I've had to make some changes to my hours. My new hours will be starting from August 1st.
Shorter appointments to ensure you receive top quality healthcare
I have changed the normal appointment time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. This decision was hard to make, as I have been proud of having 30 minute appointments with you.
The thing is, the College has recently increased the level of documentation required for each visit. In order to maintain quality documentation of the care I provide you with, I need more time to ensure that all of these notes are properly logged.
So I will still be spending 30 minutes of time for each appointment, but I will now be spending more time on making good documentation and other admin tasks.
In some cases, we can still set up 30 minute (or longer) appointments, but they will be on a case-by-case basis. Please contact me if you need a longer appointment time.
Pausing in-person appointments for now
We are not yet through the pandemic. While Ontario is opening up, COVID-19 is still around. I am concerned that there will be another wave, and we will all have to go back to extreme social distancing.
So I am being cautious because I don't want to risk getting you sick. I am currently having special plastic safety equipment installed in my office to keep everyone safe.
But until then, and until further notice, in-person appointments are being cancelled unless they are truly urgent and impossible to have via online or phone.
All emails will be documented and saved into your chart
Not many doctors are available by email. In fact, the only time you actually get to talk with some doctors is during your appointment with them.
As you know, that's not me. I am available by email, and you and I may discuss certain important health matters that way.
However, emails are considered to be medical records, which is why I have decided to log them all into your chart.
Please note that if you have something very private to share with me, the best way to do that is during an appointment.
Information changes / updates
Please let me know if any of your personal details change. I need to make sure that I have your latest information on file.
Ocean forms and keeping your chart up-to-date
Recently I have begun to use software called Ocean by CognisantMD. It makes it easier for me to keep your chart up to date, and to gather certain health information.
Please note that Ocean is legitimate software, it helps me to abide by new rules set out by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.
If you do not want to use it, that is OK. But we may have to spend more time during your appointments to keep your chart up-to-date.
Out of communication for 2 days a week
You may have noticed that you can schedule appointments with me from Tuesday to Saturday. That's because I've chosen Sunday and Monday to be the days of the week where I put my energy into a number of different activities.
Maybe I am spending my time studying and learning new medical concepts in order to provide you with better care. Recently, I've done a lot of research into COVID-19 and many topics around it. (Here's a little meditation I recorded about 'a virus'.)
Sometimes I am catching up on administrative tasks or planning my week, or improving the way I run my practice.
And sometimes, I am just taking a well needed rest.
So please note that on Sunday and Monday I will be out of communication and not responding to emails or phone calls. You can still send them, but you may not hear back from me on the same day.
Please know that if something is urgent and an emergency, then I am happy to be there for you.
I am always working to improve and to provide you with better care. But I just need a little bit of 'me-time' to do it. I hope you understand.
Phew. Thank you for hanging in there. I know this was a bit of a longer email. I had so much to share with you.
If you have any questions about anything I've mentioned here, please let me know.
Thank you, and stay well,