Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, practices across the country have to adjust the way they operate. Keeping your practice and patients safe from the coronavirus will require changes to the workflow of your office, but it is also an opportunity to take steps for the future.
Whatever works for your practice during this crisis will have a lasting impact on your operations after it is over. Whether your practice is struggling from a lack of patients, or a surge, you can use that struggle as an inspiration to improve.
Here are five ideas to get you started:
1. Stay Informed About COVID-19 Updates
Keeping up-to-date is one of the most important things you can do in order to continue providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic. As regulations change rapidly, having a person in your office responsible for staying on top of the recent news and updates can make all the difference. Considering how dramatically altered the medical industry will likely be for years to come, it’s also good practice even for when the pandemic is over.
2. Manage Your Resources and Plan Ahead
Now is the perfect time to start rethinking your strategies and managing your health workforce capacity, including re-assignment and task sharing. There’s no better way than to prioritize the most important tasks and be smart about your resource allocation. Large moves such as changing your EHR, or finding one that better fits your practice, will certainly have a huge impact. But implementing new features such as online appointment booking or fine-tuning your office schedule can go a long way towards optimizing your practice.
3. Improve Your Office and Make It More Inviting Than Ever
For those practices that have had to close their doors or reduce their hours during the pandemic, why not put that empty waiting room to use? A fresh coat of paint, a deep cleaning, a redesign, or even just a bit of organizing around the office can go a long way to improving the look and feel of your practice. Everyone has that one thing in the office they want to work on or change, but they just never have time. Now can be that time.
4. Increase Your Online Presence
Whether it's staying connected with patients while your doors are closed, or reaching out to let people know you’re still open, having an online presence is essential during this crisis. It can be sharing information and encouragement on social media, releasing Youtube videos, or even just updating your practice’s website. You can find companies that will help, such as Meditab’s partner DrCatalyst, or you can commit to doing it yourself. Either way, any efforts you put in now will calm your patients and give you a better platform in the months and years to come.
5. Develop a Telehealth Service
Remote care doesn’t just reduce wait times, it also improves access to care, especially in a case when people are ordered to stay home. Consider providing more telemedicine appointments for patients under quarantine or isolation by promoting your existing telemedicine program. If you don’t have one in place, this is the best time to get started. Telehealth has been increasing in popularity the past few years, and patients are likely going to ask for it more than ever when this is over.