As drastic measures and various stages of lockdown are occurring across Canada, it is challenging to get and keep your practice running at pre-Covid-19 levels.
While many practices have been experiencing highest ever metrics since June this year, about 25% are not back up to pre-Covid-19 numbers. Both, however, are struggling with similar issues such as staffing, hours, spacing patients out for distancing and therefore may be working longer hours to achieve the income levels required to keep the practice and owner viable, and so on.
Here are some effective solutions that the successful practices have been using to overcome some of the challenges:
1. The top of the list is to make sure that your profession’s regulations are completely up to and/or beyond the required standards of safety and necessary PPE. If your staff totally believe this is all in place in your practice, it will make it easier for them to be present themselves, and simultaneously it will enable them to pass that confidence on to the patients.
2. If you have staff who are reluctant about being at work, you need to find out what is making them uncomfortable and ask what solutions could be implemented to make it be safer. Do not offer danger pay or bonuses to show up as we (the whole planet) are all in this together and no one needs to be paid extra to go to work. Instead, praise the staff who have the upbeat attitude about being there and giving the patients of the practice the ideal care they deserve to have. The negative staff will soon catch on and start to view your patients’ care and health to be the overriding concern. That is the purpose of the practice.
3. When staff are speaking to patients, keep conversations upbeat and positive about all the great lengths you have gone to in order to ensure their safety while your team keeps the patient’s health and wellness as their primary concern. Make it sound fun and interesting and that they should come in and check it out for themselves.
4. If a patient is still reluctant to come in due to Covid-19, point out that your practice is safer than almost any place they could be. For instance, if they grocery shop, they are touching food and packaging that others before them have touched. If they pump gas into their care or take elevators or hold handrails when going up and down stairs, they are touching possible sources of Covid-19. In your practice however, the surfaces that they will be touching are all sterilized down after every patient to ensure everyone’s safety.
5. Publish a monthly newsletter to your patients of record with photos of the safety measures. Make it fun (not serious). Let’s say you are wearing masks and gowns or whatever, take pictures and you could even print off cute 8” X 10” signs saying, “Smile, I look cute” or “I’m smiling behind the mask”, etc. You can also include some good news about a patient or two and what amazing thing got handled at your practice; have a couple of cute jokes or a cartoon; feature a contest. Do not put out a boring blog type newsletter, you want it to inspire patients to come in and keep healthy.
6. If the front office staff are having difficulty with a patient coming in for service, you could say to the patient, “If I tell you a funny joke and it makes you smile, do you promise to make an appointment to come in?” Have a list of cute jokes that are “safe”. Most patients will respond positively to this unless they are extremely low toned.
7. As much as possible, turn conversations away from pandemic issues and talk about positive stories and good news.
8. Note to any areas of Canada that are in a pandemic lockdown yet your practice is allowed to be open, this is an IDEAL time for most patients to come in for their care as they are off work for the time being (unless they are essential care workers). Healthy bodies are vital right now and so getting the patients to keep on track with their care is especially important.
While there are many more possible successful actions, these are a few to start you off. We would love it if you have successful actions to send us an email with them and we’ll publish them. We are all in this together!
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