Patient Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Keeping Our Patients, Visitors and Staff Safe

Question: Is the hospital reopening its services as the number of COVID patients decreases?

Answer: Yes, services, practices and other care locations are being reopened in a gradual way as COVID cases decrease in our community.  We are doing this in concert with guidance from the Governor, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and with guidance from our own Infection Control physicians and experts.  With your safety in mind, we are opening and expanding services as quickly as possible.

Question:  What is NYP doing to keep people safe as services are re-opened?

Answer: We are using an array of approaches to keep our patients safe.  They include use of virtual video visits to allow patients to access care from home and extensive measures to keep patients and visitors safe for when they need to come to the hospital or to another location for care.  Continue reading for information about each of the elements outlined above. 

Question:  Will video visits continue even as in-person visits become more available?

Answer: We have seen a very positive response from video visits and they will continue to be available. In fact, access for video visits will only increase in the future.

Question:  What types of services will be offered through video visits?

Answer: Video visits can be used for follow-up visits and for second opinions.  NYP also has a “Virtual Urgent Care” program .  We have also expanded video visits to include primary care physicians and many specialties.

Question:  How do I schedule video visits?

Answer: You can call us to schedule an appointment, and we can help determine if you need an in-person or video visit.

Question:  Can I initiate a video visit on my own?

Answer: All video visits need to be scheduled ahead of time  For urgent, non-life threatening needs, you can use Virtual Urgent Care available on the NYP App.  Visits for other issues can be arranged by calling your provider. Please refer the instructions below.

Question:  What do I need in order to have a video visit?

Answer: For the best experience, we strongly recommend that you use the NYP app for a visit. We have versions for both iOS and Android devices. There is no setup required if you use the app, just install the app on your device and log in.  Columbia and Weill Cornell Medicine also have apps for patients to use in connecting.

If you do not have a smart device and must use a personal computer, make sure that you have the latest version of a common browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Explorer/Edge. Also, make sure that your microphone and camera are in good working order.

When your virtual visit is scheduled , you will be sent instructions for setting up and configuring the software before your first video visit. You may have to install new drivers on your computer, so please make sure you have the ability to install new programs on your computer.

Question:  Are video visits secure?

Answer: Absolutely.  Columbia University Irving Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Weill Cornell Medicine are committed to protecting your privacy and the security of your health information. All communication between you and your healthcare provider and care team using Connect is carried over a secure, encrypted connection. Encryption means the information is coded in such a way that no one can read it during transmission. Your health records are also stored in a way that prevents unauthorized access. In addition, patient portal and video access requires a username and password that you create yourself.

Question: What are some other changes that have been made to protect patients who need to physically come to the hospital?

Answer: We have expanded safety measures and made your patient experience even more comfortable and efficient than ever before. They include new check-in procedures, different use of physical space to allow for social distancing, screening of patients and visitors, use of personal protective equipment (for example, masks and gowns) and extensive cleaning and disinfection. 

Question: How has the check-in process changed?

Answer: In all of our locations, we will have a streamlined check-in process. Before you arrive, forms and co-pays can be processed remotely if you use any of NYP’s patient portals (e.g. – CONNECT). On-site check-ins will be “touchless” and front desk interactions will be avoided whenever possible. 

Question:  How will waiting areas be changed?

Answer: Times in waiting rooms will be minimized or eliminated.  And, seating will be altered to allow for safe social distancing. 

Question: Will there be symptom screenings upon arrival?

Answer: Yes.  All patients and visitors will be screened on arrival.  There will be screening for COVID-19 symptoms as well as a temperature check upon arrival at welcome stations. In addition, there will be pre-screening for COVID-19 symptoms before you arrive. 

Question:  Will I receive a mask during my in-person appointment?

Answer: Upon arrival, patients and visitors will be provided with a mask.  You are also welcome to bring your own mask.  Everyone will also be asked to sanitize their hands at arrival and at regular intervals during visits.  Hand sanitizer stations will also be stationed throughout public areas.

Question: How are locations being disinfected and cleaned?

Answer: Our locations are repeatedly and thoroughly sanitized throughout each day. Exam rooms are cleaned extensively between patient visits.  We have expanded and enhanced all of our cleaning and disinfecting procedures to maximize the safety of the environment for everyone who uses them.

Question:  Are there any changes to the visitor policy?

Answer: For the safety of our patients and staff, there are limitations on visitors. We will continue to follow the NYS Department of Health guidelines. Our visitor policy is available on our website.

Question: What about the staff?

Answer: NYP staff are regularly monitored to assure that they are not infected with COVID-19.  NYP staff are also required to use personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, gowns, etc.) whenever providing patient care.  They are also required to use rigorous hand hygiene practices all through the day.

Question: How do I get more information about my safety when coming to NYP for treatment?

Answer: NYP’s website has extensive information on COVID-19 and safety measures.  Go to NYP.org to learn more. Our websites also have hotline numbers which can be called for assistance or more information.