Following widespread closures across the U.S., medical practices are now reopening their doors, making it possible to resume routine care that will maintain the health of patients and bring back necessary revenue. However, many patients are now fearful to return to medical practices for non-emergency care as uncertainty and concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19 still remain.
A recent poll by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that up to 49% of Americans are delaying medical care, and practices are finding it difficult to stay connected with their patients and keep them healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. By implementing a clear strategy to stay connected with patients, practices can more effectively provide care while protecting the future of their businesses.
Communication is Key
Effective communication across multiple channels is key to reengaging patients, and it begins with identifying those that need to be contacted directly. Patients with chronic conditions that require follow-up care, have canceled or missed appointments, or are due for lab studies or physical exams may benefit from direct contact.
Keep in mind that at the outset of the pandemic, many people felt as though hospitals and medical offices were among the most hazardous locations for potential exposure to COVID. It’s important to not only communicate that the practice is open, but that it’s clean and safe for patients to receive routine care. Sharing information about new processes such as face coverings, hand sanitizing, and social distancing can help patients feel safer during their visit, making it more likely that they will return to the office.
Some suggestions for how you can contact patients include:
- Call patients to schedule appointments and answer any questions they may have
- Send letters, emails, portal messages, and/or text messages that outline office hours and pandemic processes
- Update office hours on social media accounts
- Consider posting short videos on YouTube illustrating new safety protocols and processes
- Consider offering telehealth visits for patients who are unwilling to attend in-person appointments
Curi offers guidance for physicians to reference when developing an effective communication strategy to reengage patients, including:
- How to communicate practice reopening to patience
- How to communicate with chronic care patients who require regular maintenance
- How to schedule patients
- Sample reopening flyer
More information about reopening practices can be found in the “Practice Reopening” section of Curi’s COVID-19 Practice Command Center. If you have questions about how your practice can most effectively reengage patients, please contact Curi’s Risk Management team at 800.662.7917.
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