When the time is right, it will be critical to reopen your practice in a way that is prepared, ready to communicate, and that lives a new practice “normal.” In these uncertain times making sure that physical practice changes, staff training, workflow, and supplies align is important in a successful reopening.
Preparation will be key. Filling your schedule in safe and meaningful ways will help the practice sustain itself and your team. Making sure you have the necessary supplies, process modifications, and staff training will go a long way in building trust with patients. Marketing and communication to share your strategy with your patients will help restore confidence and build trust that it is safe to come back in for a health visit.
Things to Consider and Do
Reopening for non-COVID, non-essential care is a difficult and personal choice. Before you make the decision, your top considerations should be to ensure your community or city is ready, assess your own practice preparedness, and gauge whether your patients are ready to come in.
Offering options for both in-person and telehealth visits are likely going to be both short- and long-term solutions. The visit types and services offered need to be balanced with smart scheduling practices. Will sick patients be seen in the afternoon and well patients in the morning? If you are a specialist, should you consider scheduling based on risk factors or post-surgical potential for infection and divide your schedule in this manner?
Equipment and cleanser are basic, but necessary things to have on hand. Even laminating signage instructions so that these surfaces can be regularly disinfected need to be addressed. While many practices use gloves on a routine basis, donning and doffing masks correctly may need to be reviewed with your team. This small action can make a difference in how your patients perceive you and your practice within the community.
Perhaps most importantly, you will want to communicate the “how’s” and the “what’s” of your practice’s “new normal” to patients. This needs to be done strategically. Overloading patients and or providing fractured communication can hurt your efforts and cause confusion or frustration. Providing small bits of information in easy-to-understand pieces and being strategic about what to share and when can make a big difference and help you market that your doors are not only open, but seeking care is okay at this time. Regardless of how you proceed, assessing the office from the front door, to the waiting room, exam rooms, and to its exits for how your team and patient function is critically important.
We Can Help
Some companies, such as consulting partner Chirpy Bird, have developed packages that have the tools you’ll need to get your practice up and running as before. When looking for a practice recovery kit, make sure it includes:
- Ways to fill your schedule
- Practice change guidance on cleaning, “smart” scheduling, exposure, distancing, and access to the latest formal guidance.
- A re-opening checklist that ensures you’re ready to open safely
- A detailed marketing plan to communicate with patients that includes day-by-day guidance and messaging on materials for email, social media, and even the patient portal.
- Pre-made social media posts, including image kits to correspond with the detailed marketing plan
- Comprehensive telehealth webinar and reference guides
Check out the Chirpy Bird practice recovery kit for more information.