UPMC doctors encouraging patients to reschedule missed appointments

PITTSBURGH — Doctors at UPMC say now is the time to reschedule any appointments that were missed because of COVID-19 and they’re reassuring patients that its safe and important for them to come back.

If you’re headed to your doctor’s office, you will notice more safety precautions including frequent, thorough cleanings. You may also be asked to wait in your car when you arrive to minimize the number of people in waiting rooms.

Pediatricians are also urging parents to reschedule both appointments for ongoing needs, as well as well visits for their children.

“It's important that we don't get behind, especially with vaccinations and with children with chronic medical conditions such as asthma or allergies, but also there are lots of things we do in medical visits that can unearth previously unseen problems,” said Dr. David Wolfson, Medical Director at UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics.

For some appointments, patients don’t have to leave home. Telemedicine can be an option.

“Parents love them. Kids love them, and it allows you to take care of many health concerns, all while in your home,” said Dr. Wolfson.

If you haven’t used telemedicine yet, it is simple and effective for some appointments. You can do it on your phone, iPad or laptop.

However, telemedicine cannot be used in all cases.

Some appointments, like cancer screenings, should still be held in a doctor’s office.

“You can never replace a physical exam or touching someone because when you give somebody a diagnosis of cancer you need to be able to give them emotional support,” said Dr. Vince Reyes, Assistant Medical Director at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

Reyes stresses that one key to beating cancer is detecting it early. That’s why it’s so important to schedule screenings like mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies and CT scans.

“We tell people when it comes to COVID-19 that you wouldn't delay buying food, and that's the thing about cancer care. It's not a tool where you go when it's convenient. You do it because you have to take care of yourself. Health can't wait, nor can cancer wait either,” Reyes said.

Doctors at UPMC want to work with you to get the care you need and reassure people who still have concerns.

“This is a scary time. We are doing everything that we possibly can to make every single patient feel valued, feel welcomed and feel safe,” said Dr. Margarita Zuley, Vice Chair of Quality and Chief of Breast Imaging for the Department of Radiology at UPMC.

To learn more about the importance of rescheduling your appointments and the precautions UPMC is taking to keep you safe, go to UPMC.com/YourCare.