Doctors take steps to help patients feel safe during visits

Visits to the Eye Center of Pembroke Pines now start in the parking lot.

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – Visits to the Eye Center of Pembroke Pines now start in the parking lot.

"It’s definitely new for our patients. We’ve always had the atmosphere where ‘come here, you're family,’ but now you can’t come in unless you have an appointment," said Dr. Amanda Nanasy.

All patients are pre-screened and when it’s time for their appointment, they’re greeted outside the front door where their temperature is taken.

"We’ve also added blood saturation which is nice and simple but just another measure to make sure everyone is healthy," Nanasy said.

The Eye Center’s once bustling waiting room is empty to maintain social distancing, one technician is assigned to each patient to limit contact, and visits to the optical shop are one-person-at-a-time with special partitions so patients can remove their mask to try on glasses.

"We have changed out scheduling process. We used to have 4 to 6 doctors seeing patients every 15 minutes. Now there is only one doctor and we’re separated every 30 minutes," said Nanasy.

At Dr. Max Arocha’s dental practice in Plantation, Florida, procedures have also changed.

Each room is now equipped with a special air filtration device, sanitation measures are logged on a sheet outside every room, and any patient getting a detailed procedure undergoes a peroxide rinse prior to treatment.

"So, every time we use the hand-piece or the drill we use the pre-rinse. That’s something new that we’re doing," said Arocha.

Arocha said the mindset of how they do procedures has also changed.

"If you come in and you need two or three procedures, instead of seeing you two or three times, we’ll see you once and do everything at once," he said.

Streamlining the process reduces the use of special protective equipment and minimizes the risk of contamination.

"We’re getting positive feedback from the patients because we’re doing all this for them and for us too and it’s raising the standard of care," Arocha said.

Nanasy agreed.

“We feel that our patients have really appreciated that extreme effort because everyone’s a little nervous about going out and doing things these days and coming to the Eye Center isn’t a reason to be nervous,” she said.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.