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Preparing Your Practice for an External Crisis


Many practices were not prepared for the upheaval brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients were concerned about how their health needs would be addressed. Staff were unsure about how they could see patients and if they would eventually go back to typical practice operations.

As your practice develops its own rhythm during this pandemic, it is not too late to start to think about the next crisis – whether it’s the comeback of the coronavirus pandemic in the fall or a weather catastrophe like a tornado or flood. Did you learn anything from how you changed your operations during this time?

To be proactive, you may want to consider creating a crisis response team which incorporates several internal staff, as well as outside counsel.

Legal and Fiscal:  You can create check lists for your external legal team, making sure they stay up to date on regulations for operating in your state (or states), especially as laws may change, allowing providers to be quickly approved to treat patients in different states. This part of your team can also stay up to date on malpractice insurance conditions and exceptions. They can also help with vetting virtual platforms that meet your needs for patient privacy.

Operations: Operationally, you may have learned from how you implemented telehealth and work from home policies. Adjusting those policies to make a transition smoother may be necessary. These members  of your response team can also investigate the procurement of necessary supplies like PPE or remote office set-ups for providers and staff. Might it have helped for a provider to have two computer monitors – one to have a telehealth appointment and the other to look at a patient record at the same time? Create a list of what worked well, what could be improved upon and what did not work at all. Your operational team should be able to address to come up with solutions and a potential playbook in the event of another pandemic.

Communications: Lastly, but importantly, how could you improve on your communications with both patients and staff. It may be time to look at your website to revamp – possibly creating a banner at the top that you can change quickly – without outside assistance - to update patients, and to make sure that your website is easily navigated on a computer as well as a mobile phone. Your practice may also want to complete an assessment of your social media platforms. This pandemic has solidified that many people get their information off the internet. Facebook might be a great resource for updating hours, informing patients of your practice’s operational procedures if waiting rooms are shuttered, or labs are drawn in a triage area. 

But you also need to consider how you communicated with staff – and their level of reassurance by your communications style and transparency. Do you need to consider streamlining your communications process and have you given your staff a voice during the process?

Preparing for a pandemic can make a difference in how your practice succeeds. Focus on what your practice can do to prepare and what steps you can take to protect your patients, your staff and your own financial health.

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 with any questions for your practice.