After nearly eight weeks, medical practices and clinics are finally starting to see restrictions being lifted on preventive care visits, chronic disease management and elective surgeries.
For Americans now returning to medical offices for non-urgent medical care, the patient experience is going to look a lot different. Gone are busy waiting rooms and staff passing paperwork back and forth. Instead, much of the waiting will occur in parking lots with patient registration and payments being conducted online as practices continue to adhere to strict social distancing measures. We’re entering a a whole new world for patient care, but with effective communications and processes, these measures will keep everyone safe from the spread of disease.
Here are 10 steps that we believe every practice should activate to ensure safety and social distancing for all:
- Use a Patient Communication service to notify patients of your practice’s new protocols for appointments.
- Install signage at entrances and inside your practice, reminding patients and staff about new social distancing procedures. Consider signage in the languages appropriate for the populations you serve.
- Perform temperature checks and screen for COVID-19 on every patient before they enter your facility or undergo care.
- If test results deem a patient to be high-risk of infection, refer the patient to their primary care provider and delay procedures and other services.
- Consider screening patients for COVID-19 as part of your pre-registration process.
- Send notifications to patients with scheduled appointments reminding them to bring a mobile phone with them for communication purposes.
- Advise patients to remain in their vehicles after arriving for their appointment. Have a process in place for them to notify your office on their arrival.
- Establish a mechanism for remote patient registration. To further minimize contact, this should include COVID-19 screening and remote processing of co-pays and other payments.
- Notify all patients, visitors and staff to wear face coverings inside your facility.
- Notify patients that they are allowed only one visitor to accompany them to an appointment.
- Encourage individuals to maintain at least six feet from others once inside your facility.
- Supply public spaces and patient rooms with tissues, alcohol-based hand rubs and soap at sinks and trash cans.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting our nation, Curago Health has been anticipating and planning for enhanced virtual communication between providers and patients. Our Patient Experience platform includes features such as mobile pre-registration and check-in, COVID-19 Screening, Patient Communication services and Telehealth that together, can be used to help practices adopt new social distancing protocols.
We have been impressed by how our practices have been innovating and adjusting to changes in providing care for their patients during this pandemic. Working with Curago, we believe practices can safely open so that they can once again provide exceptional patient care and an amazing patient experience.