Across the country, non-emergency patient visits to many of our customers’ offices are down more than 50%. That’s because Americans are heeding the advice of our government and healthcare professionals to stay at home to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In the short term, that translates into a major financial impact on medical practices both large and small. As small business owners ourselves, we understand first hand the stress caused by the current economic uncertainty.
What we know for certain is that protecting the future strength of our healthcare industry is essential, something that the current coronavirus response around the world highlights even more. As we think about what we here at Vital Interaction can do to help, we are focused on what we do best — providing innovative healthcare technology solutions that simplify and automate administrative tasks and help you get back to what you do best — delivering quality patient care.
To lessen the long-term financial impact to your business, you can create and implement a post-coronavirus plan now that automates patient communications and supports quick appointment rescheduling once the peak is past. By identifying and engaging directly with patients whose visits and procedures have been canceled or postponed and keeping your services top-of-mind for all patients, you can get them all back in the office as quickly as smoothly as possible.
Here are three simple things you can do today:
- Begin rescheduling patients now. Get patients who have canceled appointments back on the books as soon as possible. At a minimum, set a recall reminder for when you plan to touch base again. We see up to 1 in 10 patients who no-show or cancel an appointment, who never get back in the office. You can learn more about patient retention here: Patient Satisfaction and Retention: The Importance of Stopping Leakage
- Develop a plan for those patients with conditions that must be seen right now or at the latest, as soon as the crisis passes. Identify ongoing care and procedures which must be done ASAP. Reach out to these patients directly to update them on your plan.
- Plan for the worst and prepare for the best. Start thinking about the parts of your business you can automate to free up staff and resources to focus what matters most, your patients. Identify the time-consuming, repetitive tasks that are done on a computer and don’t require interaction with humans and figure out how to automate them to reduce time.
Creating and implementing the first phase of your post-coronavirus plan will help you get patients back in the office as quickly as possible. Start this plan today, before the first major wave of patient rescheduling begins. You can also use this time to learn more about the tools Vital Interaction currently provides your team to help improve automation and further enhance patient care in the future.
Here are a few ways our automation tools can help:
1. We are immediately upgrading all customers to our complete package for free for the next few months. This allows every client to build and implement recalls, reactivations, and other automation solutions to help you reach out to patients to get them back in the office. To learn more, please contact our support team.
2. Add telemedicine tools to stay engaged with patients. We are providing access to HIPAA-compliant Zoom accounts and plan to just pass through the costs of the service and any time you need us to spend on it. For some of you this may be the cheapest and easiest short term solution. Stay tuned for future blog posts on how Vital Interaction can help facilitate the conversion of in-person visits to telemedicine and vice versa.
3. Identify and reach out to patients who have specific needs and conditions that require immediate or ongoing care using our platform.
4. Create pre-generated patient contact lists to communicate efficiently with our bulk send feature. You can also quickly identify the patients who have canceled or no-showed and have not yet rescheduled to communicate directly to them. Utilize these patient contact lists to schedule automated communications and keep your patients up-to-date on your coronavirus plan.
5. We are creating simple communication templates that you can adjust as needed to send text and email messages to your patients to stay top of mind throughout the coronavirus response, communicate important news, and offer information on appointment rescheduling.
6. We have created a standard format to allow the loading of recalls into our system manually to simplify the automation of future outreach to patients for clients who don’t have an integration available or that can be turned on easily. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more)
7. Add the request-to-schedule and reschedule functionality to existing automated messages, making it simple for patients to reschedule and allowing your team to focus efforts on patients who want to come back in first. Our Appointment Worklist function makes this simple and quick to implement.
It’s hard to express how truly thankful we are for each one of you, and for all of our healthcare professionals across the country, working together to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. After the shelter-in-place orders are rescinded and the immediate impact of the coronavirus on our communities begins to slow, it will be time once again to focus on our patients’ long-term care. The time to plan for that switch to ensure it is as smooth as possible is right now.
As you plan for the future, we want to be as helpful and supportive as we can. If you have suggestions on tools and products you could use to re-engage with patients, increase telehealth functionality, or more – please reach out to our team at email@example.com.
We will go the extra mile during this challenging time – using our talents and our resources in whatever ways possible to support your team.