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How should we communicate the reopening of our practice to patients?

The time has finally come to announce the date your practice will reopen. As your practice ramps up for opening to full capacity, you will want to make this a seamless transition. Patient notification should be tailored to your patient population, as you will want to reach all your patients quickly. Notification will vary based on the age of your patients as well as the use of electronic communication and social media. For example, a practice with a large elderly population with limited computer and social media use may require notification by letter or a phone call. Whereas the practice with a younger patient population who consistently uses social media may employ electronic methods of communication.

Here are some helpful recommendations as you develop your communication plan.

  • Electronic—The practice may want to start notifying patients through electronic methods such as the practice website, Facebook page, patient portal, and email. See sample reopening flyer.
  • Telephonic—A recall telephone system with automated calling may be used to send a pre-recorded telephone message to all your patients. If your practice has the time and resources, you may decide to personally call all your patients or just the high-risk patients.
  • Letter—Depending upon your patient population, the practice may decide the best way for notification will be to send a letter through the US mail.
  • Develop a template letter when contacting patient through the portal or US mail.
  • Notify patients prior to their appointment of any office process changes such as the check-in process, social distancing, screening for illness, and the requirement to wear a mask.
  • Consider creating a brief (1 to 1-1/2 minute) YouTube video to announce the changes the practice has implemented to keep patients safe during their office visit. Some suggestions for topics to address in the video:
    • Illness screening and temperature checks
    • Social distancing requirement in all patient areas
    • Requirement for patients, guests, and staff to wear masks
    • Enhanced office cleaning using medical-grade disinfectants
    • Telemedicine visits
    • Any other new process that the practice has implemented