Just because the country is experiencing a pandemic doesn’t mean you want your patients to neglect their health. However, they may be reluctant to visit the doctor out of fear of contracting COVID-19. By making your patients feel comfortable, you can encourage them to take care of their health even during these trying times.
Since you likely have the proper equipment and procedures in place already, the key is to communicate that fact to the patients who need your care. From everyone who answers the phone for appointments to the time they reach your office, you want them to have all the information they need to feel safe.
The Front Desk
If your patient has a medical emergency, you might not have time to explain your protocols, nor will they care in that state, but it’s a good idea to have signs posted with safety rules for anyone entering your practice. Be sure your staff at the front desk is equipped with proper PPE and practicing safety measures.
You want the staff who makes appointments to communicate what to expect when your patient arrives. How will they check in? Where will they wait? How will they fill out the necessary paperwork? These are some of the questions you want to address with your patients before they arrive.
If your patients know what to expect beforehand, they will likely be more comfortable keeping their appointment and addressing their medical issues.
Consider Using Telehealth Services
During this time, a lot of doctors offer telehealth services where they can assess patient needs without the patient’s physical presence. Choosing telehealth services for your practice is a good way to encourage your patients to reach out and take care of their health concerns.
If you decide to incorporate telehealth services into your practice, be sure to have a clear list of services you can cover virtually. Let your patients know that it’s important to contact their insurance companies for coverage reasons because not all of them will pay for telehealth visits with a doctor, but it’s worth asking.
Using this method of care can keep your patients safe at home and give them another option to choose from when they have a medical issue.
Ready the Regulars
For those patients who need to visit in person for things such as injuries, infusion treatments, or
insulin potentiation therapy, not only do you have to have your safety procedures in place, but your patients do as well.
Make sure you have masks available to offer anyone who doesn’t have one and that you have sanitation stations set up for them to use. Discourage them from touching their masks after touching surfaces and offer them medical gloves to use on their stay.
Keep your appointments as brief as possible to limit exposure to your patients, you, and your staff while still providing the medical care they need. Be sure to streamline any paperwork and checkout, so your patients don’t have to spend unnecessary time inside the office. The time they spend in the office should be dedicated to your patient’s medical care, leaving any extraneous wait times or administrative works to the time before the visit or through digital means.
Meds and Next Steps
Prescription pickup can mean one more place to visit and risk exposure, so planning ahead for your patients to receive their necessary medications is a must. Call in their prescriptions instead of handing them a script to take into their pharmacy, when possible, to save them time. Also, have their prescription information handouts ready or send them virtually to avoid a paper exchange.
Once your patient leaves, be sure to sanitize the room thoroughly and ready it for the next patient, airing out the space when possible. Each step you take to ensure your patient’s health will go a long way in giving them a comfort level that will encourage them to visit when it’s needed instead of waiting and suffering in silence.