With the world currently experiencing an unprecedented healthcare crisis, there is now a sense of chaos and panic that many people have never experienced before. With this widespread panic, healthcare providers are taking a lot of heat from patients who are seeking answers, asking questions, and so forth. Providers must do all that that they can to keep their patients informed, calm, and safe, and in today’s post, we will be providing tips on doing just that. This way, you will be able to connect and communicate well with your patients during this novel COVID-19 pandemic.
If your medical center is looking for assistance with pre-authorization services during this time (or anytime), please do not hesitate to give AuthNet a call. We would be more than happy to partner with you to make the process as smooth as possible for both you and your patients.
Tip #1: Ensure that your business information is both available and up-to-date.
Due to the fact that COVID-19 has caused many practices to temporarily change some of their standard business practices, it is important to keep any business information updated online. Doing so will allow both current and prospective patients to stay in the loop.
You will also want to update your office hours on your website as well as important online profiles like Facebook and Google My Business if you are temporarily closing your practice or expanding your hours. If your practice is closing temporarily, you will also want to be sure to disable notifications if you use automated tools like appointment reminders until you reopen your practice so as to not confuse your patients.
Depending on the specialty of your practice, you may also be receiving a high volume of requests at this time. Be sure to let your patients know if you have a preferred method of contact at this time — for example, a direct phone line — so you can best serve them by streamlining requests.
It is also crucial to let people know whether or not you are accepting new patients or referring healthy patients to a different facility at this time. For example, if you are currently treating patients with COVID-19 in your facility but are sending healthy patients to another center where they do not treat COVID-19 patients in order to minimize their exposure. Also be sure to let people know if you are cancelling appointments entirely or have telehealth options available.
Tip #2 Tackle any misinformation and share facts from reputable sources.
As you probably know, there is a lot of misinformation on the web regarding COVID-19. Patients are relying on you to help separate fact from fiction, so be sure to do so. Doing so will help form trusting relationships with your patients and keep them wanting to come to see you in the future.
Another thing to keep in mind is to only share data from reputable sources like the World Health Organization, the CDC, and the American Medical Association as to not spread false information. Also, be sure to always cite your source when discussing facts such as these with your patients. This not only increases your credibility, but also helps to ensure that your message won’t get twisted as people share this information with others.
As a medical professional, you are in a unique position to help nip false rumors in the bud. If you are being asked the same questions based on misinformation by your patients, don’t be afraid to write a blog post, email, or social media update to set things straight and refute misinformation.
Need assistance with pre-authorization services at this time? Let us take the weight of your shoulders — give us a call at AuthNet today for a free demo.
Tip #3: Utilize multiple channels to ensure that your messages are received.
Because not all patients use the same communication channels, it is important to share messages with your patients across multiple channels in order to reach as many people as possible. Send emails, post social media updates, and depending on your specialty, post to your Instagram and Facebook. You could even write informative blogs with reputable sources to help educate and inform. Just be sure to post the most important information on your website homepage, possibly by installing either a banner or a website pop-up.
Tip #4: Touch base often to keep your patients well-informed.
As trusted healthcare providers, your patients depend on you during a healthcare crisis. Due to the unknown nature of this virus, it has created a sense of great chaos — so your patients want to hear from you. The frequency of these messages to your patients will vary depending on your speciality — for example, if you are a primary care physician, pediatrician, or family doctor, you might share daily updates with your patients.
On the other hand, if you are not in a general health specialty, you might only reach out to your patients with updates such as changes to your practice. An example of this is the fact that the American Dental Association has advised all dental providers to postpone all elective procedures and the U.S. Surgeon General has asked hospitals and healthcare systems to consider stopping elective procedures for the time being.
Tip #5: Explain what they can do to keep themselves and others safe during this time.
The general risk of infection for U.S. residents varies from state to state, but every single one of us is at risk. Emphasize the importance of personal hygiene (such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds, staying six feet apart from others, not touching their face, etc.) to your patients is always important, and to wear masks while out in public to help create a barrier. Also be sure to provide comfort and let them know that there is no need to panic. By following these hygiene tips and staying away from friends and/or family members whose health is compromised will help to ensure that this pandemic will end sooner than later.