Moving to a Virtual Environment
Most medical practices have embraced telehealth in order to protect their patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the health of all staff, and deal with the issues around social distancing, practices are moving much of their back-office work to remote. Working remotely eliminates exposure.
Things you need to consider when moving staff to a remote work location:
- Staff should have reliable internet access and access to a secure system through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Secure Network Connection (SSL) to maintain patient privacy.
- Cybersecurity protocols so staff understand possible phishing scams, malware, etc.
- Staff should have a place in their home to privately conduct business.
- Staff need the necessary equipment, including printers and supplies if your office is not totally electronic. This would include adequate cell phones or business-type telephones on a landline.
- A password hierarchy for system access, ensuring that staff have different levels of access to documents and financial records. This should be discussed by partners or top administrators.
- Passwords should be changed on a regular basis.
- A reliable system for backing up data remotely, using strong passwords and potentially, two-factor authentication.
- The ability to forward calls from your office from patients – and a backup plan for those calls if a staff member is unavailable.
- Flexible with work hours for some back-office work. For example, can staff work on billing or checking EHR documentation after normal business hours?
- Set up a system for daily communication – through a Sharepoint site or Google drive where you are not sharing patient information, but information related to new protocols, new billing codes, etc.
- Consider a daily meeting through a Zoom call so staff can share concerns or updates.
- Prepare to establish protocols for the back-to-normal work environment or future state.
Our associates are working with practices to help navigate the uncertainty in this pandemic. We are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures for the practices we serve. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions for your practice.