The heat and longer days of summer are fully upon us. Many of us have had an opportunity to visit with extended family and friends or engage in some of our favorite summertime rituals. In many meaningful ways we continue to emerge from under weight of the COVID-19 pandemic that has dominated our thoughts for over a year. Hopefully, we are retaining the wisdom gained and the lessons learned over this last year. We are stronger together, and we have seen that play out in our lives. It was evident in the ways that we leaned on each other to navigate unchartered territory. We communicated and influenced our local governments to put our patient’s care back in our hands not just through vaccination but by authorizing payment to support our flexible virtual services. We have been creative and innovative and had the opportunity to find the value for ourselves and our patients in moving away from “the way we have always done it.” We must continue to keep an ear to the ground so we can hear the sometimes-subtly expressed needs of our patients and ourselves. Please continue to promote your health care delivery ideas to your employers and within your practices so that our communities can maintain and improve upon patient outreach options.
The MDAFP has adjusted our offerings to meet the needs of the time as well. The Public Health Workgroup has expanded its outreach efforts and begun facilitating community forums (View Webinar) targeting communities with low COVID vaccine rates to address concerns and dispel myths that the public has regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Your academy has partnered with the Federal COVID Response Team to bring our members information on monoclonal antibody therapies and timely updates on variants (View Webinar). Our collective flexibility, collaboration and ingenuity, as it relates to meeting patients where they are should not end with the pandemic. Hopefully, one of the lessons learned was that the “one size fits all” approach did not work for dealing with COVID, and we were forced to acknowledge that it has not actually been working in the healthcare system either. The pandemic that is COVID will end at some point, but we should not go back to “normal”. We know better than that now. We are family medicine strong, and we can absolutely do better than that.
Jocelyn Hines, MD