Practical Advice for Fellows

The impact of COVID-19 on Fellows’ private practices has been swift and significant. College is of the view that Fellows are best placed to make individual decisions regarding how and where they choose to practice in these current circumstances. We strongly encourage Fellows to communicate with each other and share solutions, both locally and nationally via College.

The pressure on Fellows in both the private and public setting is appreciated. We are working with our College COVID-19 Taskforce to ensure that sensible and appropriate advice is delivered to Fellows and patients in a timely fashion. Fellows are urged to keep abreast of government advice and apply this practically. The below information has been stepped out in four key areas:

  • Triaging of clinical care and patient categorisation
  • Your Practice
  • Your Patients
  • COVID-19 Dermatology Registries

Triaging of clinical care and patient categorisation

On May 15, the Prime Minister announced the reintroduction of hospital elective surgery in three stages, to be reviewed monthly. It is a decision of each jurisdiction to determine the stage, timeline and the level of normal surgical activity. Normal surgical levels will undergo a phased increase by up to 50%, 75% and 100% in each stage, respectively.

Guidance has been developed to assist Fellows with decisions around clinical urgency. View College’s resource COVID-19: Categorisation of dermatology patients for consultations and surgery in the ambulatory setting.

The Australasian Society of Cosmetic Dermatologists has issued a revised statement (April 26 2020): Guidance on the safe use of Laser & Energy Based Devices taking into consideration COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2

A factsheet on Dermatological Manifestations of COVID-19 and a visual guide to skin signs associated with COVID-19 including a one page summary have been developed. These aim to inform Fellows of current evidence and prepare for patients presenting with cutaneous eruptions which are secondary to COVID-19 infection.

Your Practice

Business Operations and Considerations

During these challenging times, College remains cognisant of the financial impact on many practices COVID-19 has presented. To provide assistance, we have sought third party advice from our current auditor, William Buck. The information has been provided without charge and is high level and general in nature. It provides guidance for Fellows on government subsidies and other financial matters.

College strongly recommends Fellows seek specific guidance from their own accountants, advisers and indemnity groups who can tailor advice to their particular practice, financial position and business model.

William Buck COVID-19 Resource Centre

William Buck invites members to explore and utilise their website resources, specifically curated with business owners and operators in mind.

The resources cover a number of important topic areas including:

  • Accessing government subsidies
  • Preparing business continuity plans
  • Reviewing your tax obligations
  • Access to regularly update FAQ page specific for COVID-19

To view these resources, visit: https://www.williambuck.com/covid-19-and-your-business/

LiquidHR Webinar for Employers and Business Owners

College’s HR consultant, LiquidHR, have produced a webinar for members called “Practical advice for employers navigating downturns and government orders to close”.

Click here to view (members only): Practical advice for employers navigating downturns and government orders to close

Practice Environment

The following information has been developed to assist in your decision making about your practice set-up and operations.  Topics include:

  • Signage in and around your practice
  • Reception desk organisation
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Waiting room set-up
  • Inside doctor’s rooms
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Cleaning your practice
  • Staff reminders

Detailed information on your practice environment

Practice Staff

This resource covers off a number of areas to think about relating to management of staff and practice management. Topics include:

  • Managing staff illness and a COVID-19 safe working environment
  • Staff contact with a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case
  • Close contact but while using PPE, and PPE reuse
  • COVID-19 case definition
  • Staff entitlements in event of self, staff forced, government or practice mandated isolation
  • Staffing levels and reducing hours
  • Staff working from home/remotely
  • Australian Government Support for businesses and employees

Detailed information on your practice staff

Your Patients

Clinical Service Provision

The following information has been developed to assist in your decision making about providing care to patients. Topics include:

  • Continuity of care
  • Consultations
  • Prescriptions
  • Letters and referrals
  • Phototherapy
  • Immunosuppressive and biologic medications
  • Your role as an advocate

Detailed information on Clinical Service Provision

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released interim guidance which aims to advice US clinicians on when it is safe to discontinue transmission-based precautions for patients with confirmed COVID-19, as determined by either a test-based, symptom-based or time-based strategy. Please note that this guidance is subject to frequent review of evidence.

Patients taking immunosuppressive agents or biologics

COVID-19 Dermatology Registries

Atopic Dermatitis (SECURE-AD Registry)

SECURE-Alopecia Registry

AAD COVID-19 Registry

Australasian Psoriasis Registry (APR), please use this PsoProtect proforma and email it to Simon Cumming at scumming@skinhealthinstitute.org.au

International Collaboration and Rapid Harmonization across Dermatologic COVID-19 Registries | Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology | Published 17 June 2020