CoCo clinic provides key follow-up services for COVID-19 patients.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, USF Health continues to find ways to innovate and collaborate to benefit the Tampa Bay area.  A recent effort is the creation of the COVID-19 Confirmed Clinic.

The virtual clinic provides follow-up services to COVID-19 patients discharged from Tampa Bay area hospitals as part of a telemedicine outpatient clinic. The clinic has tracked more than 700 patients since its launch in early April.  Virtual appointments offer volunteers a way to track continued symptoms and well as help patients on the road to full recovery.

Medical students, along with nurse practitioner students, play a couple of vital roles within the clinic which include regularly following up with patients and building databases that will help analyze whether certain factors contribute to COVID-19 risk or protection.  Senior USF Health student volunteers conduct regular welfare checks, offer support and discuss any symptoms that haven’t been resolved.

“Volunteering with the clinic has been a unique educational experience.  The clinic administrators do a great job of turning every opportunity into a teaching moment,” said Joshua Mizels, Morsani College of Medicine fourth-year medical student and clinic volunteer.  “My classmates who all volunteer have had the opportunity to keep interacting with patients, giving us the opportunity to learn more about what they are going through during this pandemic.  The experience from this opportunity has been invaluable toward my medical education. ”

“Our COVID19 Confirmed clinic, COCo for short, has been an important part of our great TGH/USF response to the pandemic,” said Dr. Elimarys Perez-Colon, assistant professor of medicine, vice chief of medicine at Tampa General Hospital, and medical director of the COVID-19 Confirmed Clinic. “We have been successful in offering close follow up to patients keeping them out of the hospital when able, monitor patient’s vital signs remotely to identify patients at higher risk, safely linking patients to care and offering education and reassurance to patients with COVID19 in the Hillsborough county. The data collected will assist our department of health to better understand the distribution and epidemiology of COVID19 in our county. This effort wouldn’t have been successful without the assistance and compassionate care offered by our trainees including internal medicine, med-peds and pediatric resident physicians, senior medical students, nurse practitioner students and physician assistant students. Over 150 trainees have played a part in the care of over 680 patients since the beginning of the project”

Dr. Perez-Colon predicts that the clinic will play a key role as the Tampa Bay area slowly continues to open back up. Other hospital organizations in the southeast region of the United States have taken notes on what she and her team have accomplished in a short amount of time.  She said it’s important for hospitals and health care organizations to continue to collaborate if the goal is to help prevent future outbreaks.

Clinic leaders are working with their partners in Tampa General Hospital and the Florida Department of Health to make the clinic a permanent resource for the Tampa Bay community.  As part of their business proposal, the space would also be used to conduct critical COVID-19 research.

CoCo Clinic statistics as of June 1, 2020:

  • 1351 Total patients
  • 103 telehealth appointments completed
  • 4 in-person appointments completed
  • 29 patients’ vitals monitored via EPIC Care Companion
  • 10 patients’ vitals monitored via Masimo