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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything in our daily lives has become more complicated. Employees are learning to manage their careers from home, kids are doing their lessons online, and simple things like going to the doctor take special consideration. With the unprecedented levels of stress and fear that has captivated the world, many patients are avoiding necessary treatment due to their fears of going to a doctor’s office. The risk of infection and the challenges of social distancing is something that now has to be a priority in all clinical settings.
All medical facilities must follow the minimum HIPAA compliance along with CDC recommended restrictions and protocols to ensure patient and staff safety during the pandemic. Let’s look at a few ways that you and your staff can increase patient comfort during the pandemic.
Patients will have a lot of questions about protocols and how you are working to protect them. A transparent policy that is communicated openly will help patients to feel more at ease when they have to make a visit to the office. Take your time with patients with longer appointment blocks as patients may want to address issues of stress and fear.
Pre-appointment calls where you can verbally go through what patients will need to do are recommended so that staff can answer any questions. A follow-up email listing the protocols is also helpful as a patient reference. Letting your patients know that you have strict rules in place can help them feel less fearful about having to come to the office.
For many patients, a physical examination is necessary. For visitors to the office, social distancing protocols should remain strictly in place. All patients and staff should be required to wear masks at all times while in the office or waiting rooms. Eliminate waiting room seating that doesn’t adhere to the minimum 6-foot distance rule. You can ask patients to wait in their cars and call them when you are ready to start their appointment.
Many patients that are nervous about the risks of visiting a medical office, may put off getting the help that they need. It’s important to offer your patients an alternative that helps to make them feel safer. For patients that do not require a physical examination, you can offer video conferencing appointments.
Tensions are high throughout the world thanks to the strain of this pandemic. People are scared and anxious and are turning to their trusted medical teams to help ease some of the panic. You and your staff should be dedicated to treating all patients with care and empathy. Provide your patients with the right information, advise that they avoid social media propaganda concerning the pandemic and that they can contact you any time with their concerns.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that the world works and no one has felt the pressure more than the medical community. As hospitals and clinics are overrun with seriously ill patients, the rest of the community is struggling to provide the safest and best care. Making a commitment to the service of patients by adopting these protocols can help you make your patients more comfortable.