Experiencing a Post-COVID Rush in Patient Volume
As fall rolls in, we’ve been listening carefully to our customers to hear what their practices are experiencing and what trends they now see in patient behavior.
In the last few weeks of summer, many medical offices experienced a surge in patient visits that either restored or surpassed pre-COVID numbers. This may have been because of extra time available as schools reopened, or because confidence has steadied in safety protocols and risk exposure. One of our customers says their offices are going through a “Post-COVID Rush” as more patients schedule medical appointments.
If you had to furlough staff or close locations during the peak months of sheltering in place, it could be bumpy when quickly scaling up again to meet patient demand.
You don’t have to sacrifice quality for quantity, even when trying to financially buffer your practice for a potential second wave of the virus.
What Patients Expect
It’s important to remember that patients have no idea how busy your office has gotten. Many of them are still tentatively venturing out—and a warm “Welcome back!” with a smile can really go a long way.
To make sure your staff can positively greet guests and still offer efficiency in busy times, a focus on these three key areas will keep your practice running smoothly:
- A Digitized Front Desk
“Digital” is not the same as “impersonal,” especially when it’s a sign of accuracy and clear workstreams. When patients have control over registration and check-in via mobile, tablet or kiosk, the front desk team has more time to answer questions and offer assistance. There are no siloed areas of responsibility where personal attention can fall between the cracks. Digital intake offers a smooth transition while providing the leading edge in coordinated patient care.
- Zero Contact Patient Check-In
Reducing the number of points of contact for patients entering your practice instills trust and reflects a focus on their wellbeing. As the weather gets colder, we’ll all be spending more time indoors where illnesses can transmit more easily. Implementing a zero-contact check-in process for fall and winter can reassure patients that their health and security are your priorities. Reduce the transmission risk for patients and staff with solutions such as text and email communications, Mobile Pre-Check™, virtual waiting rooms—and digital links to telehealth visits that take place in the safety of your patients’ homes.
- Automated Eligibility
Scanning insurance cards and calling insurance companies are time-consuming practices! They leave patients waiting when the last thing you want is a crowded waiting room. Automating eligibility to electronically verify insurance and coverage before an appointment will keep things moving. You can improve your practice’s throughput while productively simplifying payments and reimbursement, keeping cash flow steady and patients secure in your most active times.
If you’re seeing a rise in patient appointments and working to continue quality service and stable finances, you’re not alone. Gain insight into how other practices navigated the first wave of COVID-19 and what they learned in our resource hub, and let us know how we can support you in your practice’s post-pandemic rush.
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