Okanagan medical clinics switch to phone and virtual appointment

Medical clinics in the Okanagan are adjusting to a new way of seeing patients.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has prompted doctors to limit face-to-face visits and provide care for most of their patients over the phone or through virtual visits.

“We are here for you and we can still provide you with care, we can still provide you with comprehensive care,” said Dr. Toye Oyelese, owner of Westside Medical in West Kelowna.

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Patients can engage with their family doctor through online video chats and telephone conversations to assess chronic and acute health issues, as well as review and discuss new and ongoing prescriptions.

Patients requiring medical attention are asked to contact their doctor’s office and will be asked to come in only if deemed necessary.

“The clinic (Westside Medical) is closed and would only be open when a physician has determined a patient needs to be seen in the clinic,” Oyelese said.

Clinics are taking drastic measures to keep both medical staff and patients safe. In many cases, clinics have patients wait in their cars to keep reception areas empty.

Westside Medical is now offering its virtual walk-in clinic to all residents, not just its own patients.

That’s because many residents don’t have a family doctor, and, even if they do, not all clinics are equipped to provide virtual care.

“We want to all patients to know, West Kelowna, Kelowna and area that we do have local physicians here who are ready and able to serve them,” Oyelese said.

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