The Best Way To Fight Coronavirus? It’s In Your Hands

Baptist Health

The coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout Florida, bringing life to a standstill and overwhelming hospitals and emergency rooms across the state. Terms like “self-isolation” and “social distancing” have become part of our shared vocabulary.

Think you may have COVID-19? Before you can be tested, you first need to be assessed by a healthcare professional, a simple step to determine if you might have the virus. Over the past month or so, thousands of South Floridians have swamped local doctors’ offices, hospitals and emergency rooms in an effort to get tested, straining already over-taxed facilities, resources and staff.

If there is a silver lining to this public health crisis, it’s that it has shined a spotlight on the critical role telemedicine plays in healthcare, particularly in battling the COVID-19 crisis. Telemedicine services such as Baptist Health Care On Demand enable you to consult with a trained healthcare professional from the comfort of your home via your smartphone, laptop or computer. 

“In a public health crisis such as this, it’s very important that patients are advised properly,” explains David Mishkin, M.D., medical director of Baptist Health Care On Demand. “Care On Demand is really the first ‘front door’ potentially for many patients regarding this illness and we have specific protocols when a patient does meet (COVID-19) criteria for an in-person evaluation.”

Using digital health tools such as Care On Demand as part of a front-line response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic helps ensure that scarce hospital resources are reserved for the sickest patients, including those who need care for conditions not related to the epidemic. 

Javier Pérez-Fernández, M.D., pulmonologist and critical care director at Baptist Hospital of Miami, says keeping emergency rooms available for those who are seriously ill has been a major concern for Baptist and hospitals throughout the world.

“Unless you’re sick, hospitals and emergency rooms are not the place you want to be right now,” says Dr. Pérez-Fernández. “Also, do you really want to be exposing yourself to this virus unnecessarily?”

Following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Baptist Health South Florida has been encouraging people with symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 to stay home and see a doctor via Care On Demand. Baptist Health’s online healthcare providers can answer any questions, evaluate your risk, and provide support to relieve symptoms.

Most cases of COVID-19 involve mild symptoms, including fever and a dry cough, that can be home-treated without medical intervention. Some patients develop pneumonia, which is a condition that can fill lungs with fluid, potentially causing difficulty breathing in some patients. 

“If you’re experiencing shortness of breath in addition to other symptoms such as fever, cough and general malaise, then you should visit Care On Demand to see if you should be tested for the disease,” Dr. Pérez-Fernández says.

For more information about Baptist Health Care On Demand, please visit or simply download the app for free from the App Store or Google Play.