It is no secret that clinics are facing a challenging time right now.
Now is the time to be strongly thinking about the effects that the current situation could have on your business. There are challenges which all clinicians are going to face which are out of the ordinary. In many senses, it is not business as usual and as a clinician or practice principal you will need to adapt accordingly.
At the end of the day the patient needs confidence that you are doing everything possible to adhere to standards that will keep them safe. We have always thought that clinics should be warm and welcoming. We now need to change our focus on demonstrating that our clinic is sterile, clean and be hospital grade. Obviously smiling, friendliness and a super warm welcome is still essential😊.
From having spoken to hundreds of clinicians in the last couple of weeks, this is a short list of tips we have compiled of some strategies to employ at your practice;
- Employ physical protection
- Show the patient that you are protecting them from you.
- That means the clinician should be using gloves and masks- once unthinkable but now necessary to consider as an option.
- Patient’s should be given an option of no skin to skin contact between patient and clinician.
- Employ high hygiene levels– we all know about this but to recap;
- Hand Sanitiser and hand washing.
- Using face sheets offering the best protection.
- Disinfect furniture after every patient.
- Protect furniture with disposable paper/non-woven sheets.
- Wipe down all equipment after each patient. The patient needs to see this happen to secure their confidence.
- The clinic needs to be seen to be cleaning waiting rooms while patients are there. Patient’s need to know that you are fastidious with regards to cleaning.This includes gym and rehab equipment.
- Alternate waiting rooms
- separate waiting room chairs to 1.5m distance.
- ask patients to check in via phone when they arrive and they can wait outside or in their car. When the clinician is ready, the patient is contacted to enter.
- Create treatment teams
- If one of your staff is tested positive for COVID-19 anyone in contact with them will have to go into a 14 day quarantine. This could effectively be the entire clinic which will forcibly close your clinic immediately.
- Start thinking about teams made up of clinicians and admin staff to mitigate the risk.
- These teams work separate shifts from the other and do not make contact. If one person in a team gets affected, then only the team will isolate, leaving the other team to continue business.
- Contactless reception
- Pay-wave payments only.
- Use sterilised pens only for signing.
- Prevent unnecessary visitors entering the clinic
- Sales reps asked to not enter
- Delivery zone created just inside the door to clinic for order drop offs. Many delivery companies are not accepting signatures now
- Spread your message
- Clinics need to use all media to get this message across to their patients about their approach. Don’t wait for patients to come to you before you tell them. You may not have that chance
- This includes, email, phone, social media, website posts etc
Other ideas that have been floated are virtual consultations and phone consultations. These are a great option however I’m just not sure where private health insurers stand on this so you may need to check this out before claiming.
One of the issues at the moment is supply. Many of the usual manufacturers of sanitisers, cleaning products and protective equipment are all working at capacity and many have contracts with government facilities meaning distributors are left out of the supply loop. The team at APE is working hard to find quality and reputable alternatives to help the clinician. These will be made available as we source them.
Good Luck and Good Health