5 Things to Consider as You Reopen Your Medical Office
As the curve flattens and restrictions around the country loosen up, medical practices are slowly reopening their doors for non-essential services. But reopening doesn’t mean business will resume as usual. Every industry is making changes as we navigate a new normal.
Many of those changes center on social distancing guidelines, but there are other matters to consider as well. Here are some strategies to keep in mind as you reopen.
Reevaluate Your Budget
Government restrictions may be lifting, but medical practices are not going to bounce back immediately. Any financial goals you had in place for 2020 likely won’t be met this year.
Some budgetary adjustments will be necessary. Here are just a few ideas:
Check in with vendors, landlords, and creditors to discuss any accommodations they may have for cash-flow disruptions
Consider delaying payment of bonuses and other discretionary payments
Seek aid from government economic relief packages and loans for small businesses and front-line workers. Stay informed on what your options are, as changes are ongoing.
This goes without saying, but make sure you’re up to date on patient billing and payments, too, including telemedicine visits. If you have patients who need extra time to pay their bills, set up a payment plan for them using BillFlash Plan Pay.
Get Your Staff's Buy-In
Before you start bringing patients back in, your entire medical staff needs to understand your new policies and be on board with enforcing them. They need to be reassured that their safety is a top priority, as well.
It’s been a difficult few months for front-line healthcare workers, and will continue to be stressful in the months going forward. Do what you can to acknowledge their hard work and dedication.
Actively Bring Patients Back to the Office
Some people are eager to get out of their homes and into public spaces again, while others plan to shelter in place a while longer. Either way, your patients aren’t going to return in droves. Many are less comfortable going back to a doctor’s office than they are other places, so you need to be proactive about making your patients feel safe enough to come back to your office.
Americans have become experts on how viruses spread over the past few months, so anything you’re doing to clean and sanitize your office should be visible. Affixing physical distancing floor markers, procuring enough PPE for your staff, and installing hand sanitizer stations is a good start. Show your patients what you’re doing to protect them; simply telling them what you’re doing when they aren’t around won’t be enough.
As you communicate your new policies to patients, be aware that they may be feeling overwhelmed. Be transparent about your new policies, but connect with them on a personal level, too. Don’t be afraid to show your human side; otherwise, your office will be just another place with a long list of rules to follow.
Keep Using Telemedicine and Other Online Tools
The technology that got you through stay-at-home orders can continue to support you long term. Telehealth isn’t going away. Plus, patients will still want contactless payment options.
Evaluate what has worked over the last few months and incorporate them as part of your new normal.
For example, you may want to have a plan in place regarding which patients get priority with telehealth. At-risk individuals will still need to stay home as much as possible, so make sure telehealth will still be an option for them.
Another tool that’s been valuable during the pandemic is contactless payments. COVID-19 has changed the way people are paying—for good. They want the option to pay their bills online, or directly from their mobile devices. Some patients will even consider switching providers if another practice offers them online payment options their current provider doesn’t have.
BillFlash easily accommodates a variety of payment preferences, from online SelfPays to sending pre-visit charges for telemedicine visits (LinkPay). Sign up for a demo here. You can try BillFlash Pay Services at no cost for 30 days.
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