COVID-19 has sent most healthcare practice administrators into a chaotic tailspin as they are called to offer remote options for staff and digital care tools for their patients. For most practices, this has meant frantic Google searches and frequent calls to IT. Sound familiar? In reality, this is unknown territory for most practices. At PCG and Micro-Office Systems, we understand that your utmost priority is to continue to serve your patients and to ensure the sustainability of your practice during this trying time. Over the past several weeks, we have taken rapid action to help our healthcare practice clients send timely digital communication to patients, transition staff to remote work, set up online patient billing, and create communication workflows that support the delivery of healthcare through telemedicine.
Below is a look into some front-lines stories from our client support team:
Suspending Irrelevant Appointment Reminders Quickly and Adding Telephone Messages Asking the Well to Stay Home
We’ll begin by joining one of our primary support engineers, Alyxon during a busy day when COVID-19 first began to threaten normal routines. Her phone is buzzing with calls regarding those desperate to suspend or change their usual reminder messages, so patients will not be confused about whether or not their upcoming appointment is going to take place. Customers are also asking for added content asking patients with flu or flu-like symptoms to remain home until they feel well. Alyxon is easily able to turn these requests around same-day or within 24 hours to keep communication close to real-time. She provides recordings for phone calls and has text or email examples at the ready, so practices have a clear vision of what patients will receive.
“We’ve had a lot of practices struggle to come up with the scripting that they want and I’m thankful they reached out so that I can help them by giving them a series of examples to choose from. It’s much faster than trying to rely on an overly-stressed practice admin to squeeze out something creative that they aren’t satisfied with,” she said.
Supporting the Move to Telehealth with Communication Adjustments
As it becomes apparent that COVID-19 will have a longer effect than just a week or two, Alyxon starts to receive calls from practices about moving to telehealth. Empathetic to their struggles, she works quickly to readjust their calls, texts, or emails, offering the latest changes for instructions on how to attend telehealth appointments. Often those appointments require consent forms, or paperwork sent to the patient ahead of their virtual visit. Using PCG’s myriad of tools, she is able to supply more examples of embedded forms, patient intake packages, back-page of statement content or recall letters to help get the word out to as many patients as possible. Beyond communicating to patients, she also helps some of the admins we support get their PCG program and other vital tech tools set up and running in their home office.
Understaffed practices continue to wrestle with these transitions and practices that have yet to adopt a telehealth service are seeing dropping numbers in daily appointments. For those, we recommend services such as doxy.me and offer resources through our weekly emails to help practices struggling to adapt.
Checking in on Changing Trends and Needs
With days now stretching into weeks, the PCG Support team watches closely as practices continue to scramble for ways to reach out to their patients, observing a need for order and automation among the chaos of transition. During team meetings, our staff shares trends seen through our conversations with the practices we support. We actively work on package solutions to support common requirements. Our number one priority is regularly checking in with clients to assess their changing needs.
“Knowing our practices personally has been a huge benefit because we can reach out to the practices that don’t have enough resources to stay afloat in this storm,” said Lead Support Engineer, Blyth. “Being able to advise them in a direction that aligns with their practice needs, budget, and demographic level has more value than just shoving a solution in their face. They trust us to guide them because we have been guiding them through general practice problems when we’re not facing a pandemic.”
Targeting Messaging to High-Risk Patients
Under the new normal of patient care, many of our clients turn to our support team for creative solutions and set up services for special COVID-19 communications. We help a dermatology office with several locations target their high-risk patients to provide special instructions while their other returning or new patients receive a different message. We also help a pediatric office communicate special instructions to those booked under a specific COVID-19 reason code to enter through an alternate entrance to protect well patients from exposure.
As it becomes clear that this situation is not going resolve quickly, we are proud of the agility and creative critical thinking skills our support team employs daily to provide our valued practice clients the solutions they need to navigate this uncharted territory. We are thankful that our existing personal relationships with each of our clients helps us to understand requests and act quickly. Phrases like “you’re a life saver” or “I am so glad you have this” come in at the end of every successful setup.
Even though this pandemic caught all of us off guard, our PCG Support Team continues to push to be there for our clients because, after all, we are all in this together.
We are so thankful for all of you working on the front lines and wanted to proudly share the kind words you have been sending our way recently:
“I’m glad we thought of PCG, it would have been incredibly inefficient for us to call all those patients individually. I’m a happy camper, this takes a MAJOR load off me and my staff.” – Dermatology Doctor
“Thank you so much for your quick replies. I never have to worry about if your solution will work, it just works!” Mental Health Billing Department Admin
“We’ve been so overwhelmed when transitioning everyone to telehealth and we really appreciate your care and attention to detail.” Chief Billing Officer
“I didn’t even think about sending out instructions via email, that would help a ton in getting the information out to my patients before their visits.” Cardiologist Administrator
“A survey asking about their telehealth visit is smart; then we can determine how much value this transition really brings so we can see what portions of it are worth keeping when all this is said and done.” Primary Care Physician Admin