Ohio University

OHIO's Chief Medical Affairs Officer lifts up primary care providers, "unsung heroes" of the COVID-19 response

Published: March 26, 2020 Author: Staff reports

OHIO Chief Medical Affairs Officer and Executive Dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Kenneth Johnson, D.O., described primary care physicians as the “unsung heroes” in the battle against COVID-19 while appearing on Spectrum podcast, produced by WOUB Public Media at Ohio University. 

Dr. Johnson talked about the overall importance of primary care physicians and what they face while caring for patients during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“One of the things I know about primary care physicians is that they change their practice to meet the needs of their patients,” said Dr. Johnson. “In this case here with a pandemic that’s sweeping the world, the primary care physicians are on the frontlines of care delivery and guiding patients during these really uncertain times. So they’re working with patients to get them into, out of or around the health system right now.”

Changes being implemented include telehealth methods, such as online conversations and phone conferences, instead of in-person appointments, noted Dr. Johnson. 

Every contact in primary care offices right now is focused on screening patients for COVID-19, Johnson said. For many patients, primary care physicians are the first point of contact in the health system and the first to handle care and determine if patients should be tested for COVID-19.

Dr. Johnson noted that medical education is also changing in response to the pandemic. In order to safeguard students and preserve much-needed personal protective equipment, students are being provided alternative training in place of clinical experiences. Online learning has taken the place of physical classroom experiences. 

Listen to Dr. Johnson’s interview on the Spectrum podcast, produced by WOUB Public Media at Ohio University, on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, NPR Podcast Directory, Stitcher, Blubrry, or on WOUB’s website