The past few months have been very challenging for both patients and providers in the medical community. As many states have gotten more comfortable with testing for COVID-19 and treating patients who get sick, they have allowed more businesses to open. That includes many medical clinics that had to immediately halt in-person visits around March and April of 2020 but now can see patients again in your office.
While this is beneficial for patients who need care and providers who were struggling to keep clinics financially viable during the shutdown, it also presents some new challenges. One of the primary things your clinic and providers will need to address is patient safety—both in terms of ensuring a sterile and safe environment to reduce the chance of disease transmission and to reassure patients that they are safe when they need to come in for a visit.
Notify Patients of Infection Controls
Let your patients know the protocols you are following to ensure infection control, including cleaning and sanitizing, handwashing, social distancing, mask requirements, and more. You can include this messaging in your phone recordings, send patients emails prior to an appointment, and also disseminate the message through your patient portal. If you don’t have a patient portal or you don’t have enough patients actively using a portal, you may want to send out a mailer as well.
Use Technology to Limit Contact
One of the best ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 is to limit close contact where respiratory droplets carrying the virus could pass from one person to another. You can limit your in-person and close interactions between your front office staff and patients by using technology, such as:
- Online check-in prior to appointments
- Kiosks or tablets to use in your waiting rooms
- Online payment for copays and outstanding bills
Implement Waiting Room Precautions
Patients may not feel comfortable sitting in the waiting room around others, so implementing proper social distancing or erecting physical barriers can help. Allowing patients to check-in online and having practice management software that helps you track patient arrivals can also reduce the time they actually spend in the waiting room, allowing you to get them to a private patient room sooner.
Screen People Upon Arrival
Screening both your staff and your patients will help limit the chance that a symptomatic person comes to your clinic. Take temperatures of staff and patients when they come into the clinic and advise anyone with symptoms to stay home. You can also require face masks, and offer them to patients who don’t have one, to prevent asymptomatic people from spreading the disease in your clinic.
AdvancedMD practice management software can help you provide better services and limit in-person contact with our full suite of integrated solutions. Find out more about it and see a demo of the software today.