There’s no doubt that we’re living in unprecedented times. The novel coronavirus has changed our lives in a stunningly short amount of time, indefinitely closing schools and businesses while overwhelming emergency medical facilities. And while medical treatment is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the main focus is on immediate diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
However, other medical needs must still be met during this period. With 472,560 primary care physicians currently practicing nationwide, family medicine offices and other non-emergency medical facilities still need to provide services to patients in some capacity. That said, these facilities will be heavily impacted by the increased need for social distancing and concerns surrounding possible virus transmission.
You’re already doing everything possible to ensure your facility exceeds cleanliness standards, but you may still be understandably concerned about how you’ll weather the storm. We’re sharing just a few tips that may help during this uncertain period.
Alleviate Patient Confusion and Fears
Patients are constantly bombarded with information from a variety of sources. While some are reputable, others may be based on junk science. Some patients may not know whether a rumor they’ve heard about COVID-19 actually holds water. It’s important for your facility to share as much known information as possible and to quell concerns that arise.
It’s understandable that patients may be scared. In some cases, they may be right to be — particularly if they have a high risk of infection or complications. That said, some may be more inclined to over-react and panic if they don’t receive confirmation from a source they trust. Some facilities have set up robocalls to inform patients about the virus, including ways to stop the spread, symptoms to watch for, and actions to take before going to any medical facility. Sending out emails to patients or setting up a separate phone line can also be beneficial. Not only can this calm patients, but it can keep the healthcare system from becoming more overwhelmed and potentially lower the risk of infection.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
If you already use family medicine check-in software in your offices, you already know how beneficial healthcare technology can be. This family medicine check-in software can be even more helpful right now, as the option for remote check-in can lower the contact made between patients and staff (as well as between patients in the waiting room). This medical software can also streamline the payment process, which offers the same advantages.
In addition to using medical check-in software for patients, you might consider offering or expanding telehealth options during this time. Telemedicine has become more popular in recent years, but it’s now one of the best ways to ensure patients experiencing other health issues receive the help they need without putting themselves or others at risk of infection. Along with our family medicine check-in software, we’ve created a secure and HIPPAA-compliant video visit system that allows patients to use their own devices to receive treatment from their physicians. This can ensure your facility can continue to serve patients while still following stay-at-home orders.
Assess Financial Obligations Now
While keeping family medicine check-in software and other technology will be essential to keeping your practice running during this time, other expenditures may not be so necessary. If your practice experiences decreased clinical revenue, you’ll need to find ways to survive on a financial level.
In addition to exploring low-interest loans and relief funds, your practice should make a financial contingency plan in the wake of COVID-19. This may involve delaying bonus payments, talking to lenders or creditors to revise agreements, or furloughing non-essential staff members. While this certainly isn’t ideal, you’ll need to thoroughly explore all of your options to ensure you can continue to provide healthcare services and that your organization will remain operational once shelter-in-place orders have been lifted.
This is a challenging time for all businesses, but those in the healthcare industry will continue to be impacted in unique ways. With these tips in mind, your practice can continue to serve patients and make it through to the other side — and we’re here to help. For more on how our medical software can strengthen the services you can offer to your community, please contact us today.