Everyone is talking about the Coronavirus.
If you’re talking about it, your patients are too.
Some people are panicking and canceling scheduled visits, even to medical offices.
What should you do?
What should you tell your patients?
- Give your patients what they want: factual and realistic information.
- Tell them you’re concerned too about their health and the risk associated with the virus.
- Then tell them the steps you are taking to mitigate that risk, from regularly cleaning the office, to separating patients, to cooperating with local health authorities and CDC guidelines.
- Tell them that if they are symptomatic, recently visited areas where there have been outbreaks or have been exposed, they should not come into the office, but rather call.
- Remind them that they can always reschedule their visit, but that you’re still open and taking measures to ensure the safety of your patients.
- Then after you’ve emailed them, if you have any cancellations use the time to call your patients and reassure them you can see them later this month or next month and get them scheduled.
- Consider offering home visits for some services, or remote services where possible. For example, if you’re set up to adjust hearing aids remotely, you can conduct those visits during slow periods. Patients looking for repair services could mail you their device. Perhaps some patients can be seen using telemedicine.
- Consider what you can be doing in slow or “down” periods. Is this a good time to train your front desk staff? Reorganize files? Do a more comprehensive cleaning of the office?
- Conduct contingency planning and develop strategies for handling similar disruptions in the future. Are there other streams of income–products or services you can offer–that aren’t contingent on an in-office visit? What do you need to do to offer telemedicine going forward?
- Start to plan strategies to make up lost income including: mining your database to see what patients are overdue for a visit, planning out your marketing for when the scare subsides, coming up with schedules for an increased patient load.
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