In a post COVID-19 world, your practice will need to adopt a new check-in process, if only for the next few months. Depending on the state you practice in, your check-in process will look different. However, here are a few tips to help you put those changes in place while re-assuring your patients and staff.
Every state and as well as medical board will create their own safety guidelines to eliminate exposure between patients and staff. It’s important that you communicate your safety expectations and guidelines before they are seen. Taking an active approach to this will allow patients to decide if they want an appointment now or would rather wait until guidelines are lightened.
Before your team starts scheduling appointments and interacting with the patients, it is important to give them scripts on how to answer questions. The patients may give push-back as to why they have to have their temperature taken or wear a mask. Work with your team on the best way to handle their concerns and questions.
Ultimately, you want to help everyone coming in and out of your alternative medicine practice to feel safe.
Some states are recommending or requiring that you pre-screen patients prior to setting them up with an appointment. You can do your pre-screenings over the phone or through an online form. Make sure that your patients understand the purpose of the screening and that they will need to have another one done the day they come in for their appointment.
Make sure that you document their responses in the patient chart or however you keep records on them. You’ll want to document their response on the day they come in as well.
Before you let patients into your waiting room or operatories, they need to be screened. Most states are following the CDC guidelines that require their temperature to be taken before coming in. Also, they will need to answer a set of questions to help you determine if there is any chance that they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus recently.
Whoever is handling the pre-screening should be trained on how to address patients that pose a risk to the practice. If the patient has a fever or answered the questions in a way that would warrant re-scheduling, your team needs to be prepared.
Most importantly, you have to decide who’s job it is to screen patients at the door. Will you have one of your medical assistants do it, or someone at the front desk. You’ll have to make this decision based on your specific practice and flow of your office.
Some offices will have the front desk handle the screening in order to reduce contaminating the PPE for those in the back. However, it may not be a problem for your assistants to greet the patient, seat them, and then put on their PPE. Other offices are having their assistants handle the pre-screening in order to free the front desk up to take longer patient calls.
Set up a time to practice your screening process so that everyone in the office knows what to expect. Also, you will likely have to schedule a gap between patients in order to follow social distancing rules. This will give you time to work out holes in your process.
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