The advent of COVID-19 has meant we have all had to re-evaluate and reassess how we deliver care. There is no doubt that this will be a challenging time for practitioners in all aspects of medicine but especially in a specialty such as Phlebology (Vein Specialists). We do not have the same feeling of clinical urgency that cancer has and so therefore a patient is far more likely to consider putting off venous treatments than they would say a lumpectomy for a malignant breast lump.
There is no doubt that some practices will not survive post COVID-19 however as Darwin pointed out “Its not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. At VeinsNorthWest as in other practices we are taking a long look at how we deliver services and putting measures in place to ensure that in future services can be delivered safely. In simple terms we are changing the ways we work to keep everyone safe in these fluid times. With this in mind we are introducing a two-stage assessment process. Firstly by way of a remote consultation the problem and your expectations of treatment can be discussed. For those who wish to proceed on for completion of the assessment, an examination and scan can be organised. This helps reduce the direct contact without compromising on the assessment.
An unforeseen but positive outcome from the COVID crisis has been the increased access to global CPD (Continued professional development). In Phlebology the bulk of the academic drive has come from the United States and parts of Europe. In Ireland in the United Kingdom we are still relatively young as a specialty and therefore haven’t established the same amount of CPD learning that is available in other parts of the world. Given that COVID-19 affected the whole of the world at the same time leading to social distancing and alterations in work pattern this is has altered the way meetings are run globally. It is no longer feasible to cram thousands of delegates into large halls to listen to lectures and network with colleagues in industry and so meetings have moved to an online platform. For those of us in Ireland and the United Kingdom who previously would’ve had to not only take annual leave to attend such a conferences but also annual leave to travel there and back and possibly had to adjust to the jetlag induced time zone changes, we are now able to from the comfort of our homes and offices zoom into these meetings. The only thing we have to remember is to adjust our alarm clock to the relevant time zone. This is a small price to pay when you consider cost savings in both time, travel and hotel bookings. For the first time in years I am attending such meetings In the United States and the Southern Hemisphere.
I have found myself in the privileged position of being an invited speaker at an international zoom conference ( the Venous Forum). Here experience and research was shared on modern venous treatments. In this new digital world we must make adjustments to ensure we survive and improve for as Darwin said
“Its not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.