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How is Your Practice Comeback Going?

Posted on Aug 06, 2020 by Lori Boyer

    Thrive moving forwardLife for practices in 2020 has been crazy. To help you manage, we created a complete "Practice Comeback Plan" with steps for wherever you are in this journey. Today, I wanted to share ideas from Phase III: Thrive Moving Forward. Take a few minutes to review these steps and make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your practices firing on all cylinders.

    PHASE III: Thrive Going Forward. While we hope that things return completely to normal, we know that a second (or even third) wave of COVID-19 is likely. A poll of top infectious disease experts found that 73 percent believe we will see another wave in the fall. Here are some tips to be prepared for what the future may hold, as well as tips for thriving well after the pandemic has passed.

    1. Develop a written plan for the next 12-18 months. Remember…flexibility will be key. Things may change quickly. Take the following questions into consideration and develop backup options in your plan wherever possible.
      • What if you get sick?
      • What if you lose staff members?
      • What if your area is hit hard?
    1. Review lessons learned
      • Start NOW (even before reopening if necessary). This will take time. 
      • Look at your initial response. What weaknesses did you see? 
      • Collect feedback from staff and patients.  
        • Digital survey
        • Phone calls
    1. Stock up on supplies now.
      • Use regular sourcesMedical supplies
      • Search supply comparison websites
      • Be creative
        • State health department
        • Local stores
        • Amazon
        • Reusable supplies
    1. Implement telehealth
      • Do it now if you haven’t.
      • Survey patients who use it for feedback and make adjustments.
      • Encourage patients to try it now. 
      • Monitor ongoing changes for coverage and HIPAA
    1. Reduce paper usage and person-to-person contact
      • To treat as many overdue patients as possible and to save your front desk staff time, we recommend implementing a paperless check-in process. Going paperless is also a more hygienic approach to combating COVID-19 and any other infectious diseases.
      • Encourage online scheduling. Your practice is going to be juggling dozens of calls from patients who are overdue for treatment. Give your patients the option to schedule their appointment on your website at their convenience. Online scheduling can be a life-saver for practices and patients alike. If you already have an online scheduling option, here are some ways to get patients using it.
        • Use your website, social media, advertising, online listing, and voicemail. Basically, try to get the information out anywhere you can.
        • Make it very obvious on your website. If you’ve simply put a tiny box at the bottom of the page letting people know about your online scheduling tool, they will likely ignore it. Instead, make it impossible to miss.
      • Use online payment options
    1. Strengthen patient communication
      • Ask patients what you could do to better communicate during the crisis.
      • Implement digital communication now...two-way text, email, social media.Patient communication
      • Two-way text is especially important.
      • Collect the right contact information and preferences if haven’t already.
      • Let patients know you may not be able to see them in person during a second wave and encourage preventative care now.
    1. Understand and address staff needs
      • Meet individually and as a group to understand challenges
        • Single parents?
        • Caregiver to elderly?
        • High-risk conditions?
        • Other?
      • Develop teams
        • Work-from-home team
        • In-facility teams
      • Divide in-facility teams into groups that only work together
        • Avoid any overlap of one group to another to limit exposure
    1. Don’t overlook emotional needs
      • How was the first wave in your area?
        • In hard hit locales, healthcare workers experienced extreme stress and even PTSD.
        • Provide ways employees can learn how to manage stress now. 
      • Get employees involved in developing plan moving forward
        • Much more likely to be on board and invested
      • Keep your finger on the rumor mill
        • Address rumors
        • Avoid toxic work environment
    1. Boost team morale and solidify work relationships. Try to make life as fun and normal as possible for your team. You can do this through:
      • Team activities
      • Bring in food
      • Spotlight employees
      • Connect at-home employees with those on site
    1. Prepare your finances
      • Run projections on what finances would look like if revenue drops by X percent or for specific Prepare financesperiods of time and develop response plans for each.
      • Find new ways to generate revenue (telehealth, for example) to offset losses.
      • Be transparent with employees about how losses may impact them and about how their role affects the business.
      • Get a line of credit or SBA loan now. 
    1. Be ready for potential financial relief
      • Relief packages and programs have been coming in waves at the local, state, and federal level. Be prepared to apply for any programs you may qualify for.
      • According to the SBA:
        • Develop a relationship with a contact person at your bank
        • Have tax returns and average monthly payroll costs up to date and ready at all times
      • Develop working list of other financing options available through private organizations
    1. Strengthen your position in the marketplace. This includes your website, social media, SEO, and PPC. But we all know that online reviews are the lifeblood of every practice. You can have a huge impact on the quality of reviews that are left on your site. Here are some ways you can encourage strong reviews:
      • Ask! There is no greater substitute than simply asking your patients for a review. Develop a plan and prepare your staff with ways to bring up the topic when they are speaking with patients.
      • Use a survey. Reviews can be collected through post-appointment surveys.
      • Send a text message or email inviting patients to leave a review. It’s easy and effective.
      • Incentivize your staff to ask for reviews through contests and rewards.
      • Put up signs in your waiting and treatment rooms asking patients to leave a review.
      • Use a tool like SR Smart reviews to collect patient reviews in the most common places—Facebook and Google—via text message. 
    2. Get education and training to understand:
      • New technology you’ve implemented 
      • Education and trainingTelehealth billing and codes
      • Government aid package requirements
      • Team management
      • Best practices to maximize efficiency 
    1. Complete “SR Success Formula” training
      • Reduce no-shows: With the right cadence of automated reminders with pre-visit instructions and two-way text, you can get no-shows to 5% or less.
      • Increase appointments: From wait lists to automated recall, there are great ways to fill the schedule and increase revenue by up to $100,000 per provider.
      • Increase patients: Use patient reviews and referrals to boost income. A one-star increase equals a 10% boost in revenue.
    1. Don’t forget your own wellbeing. Remember—you have to put on your own oxygen mask first!
      • Manage stress
      • Take care of basic needs
      • Access help as needed
      • Be kind to yourself

    To download the entire Practice Comeback Plan 2.0, click here.

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    Lori Boyer

    Lori Boyer

    Lori Boyer has spent over a decade developing content and customer strategy for a wide variety of companies. She especially loves "walking a mile" in the shoes of her target audience. At Solutionreach we focus on relationships - building and maintaining them. She does the same. Lori Boyer is a lover of crisp fall mornings, a good book, and just about anything Beauty and the Beast related.

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