The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down over the last two years, causing many health providers to have to completely rethink how they treat their patients. Businesses in just about every industry were forced to change how they operate as government restrictions and lengthy lockdowns were enforced all over the country. Being on the front lines, healthcare providers had to be particularly diligent in relation to how they operate and many things have changed as a result.
Like most other industries, healthcare providers were limited as to what services they could provide their patients due to the restrictions in place during the pandemic. Many practices and clinics were forced to close their doors to walk-in patients and host calls with patients over video calls to minimise the number of patients that needed to visit the clinic in person. Patients were often asked to come to appointments alone with supportive family members, partners and friends having to remain outside. Overall, the pandemic had a major impact on how healthcare providers operate and it’s likely that many of these changes will remain in place moving forward to keep both staff and patients safe.
Let’s take a look at just a few ways that the pandemic has changed how healthcare providers operate in the current climate.
Employee absenteeism has been a big issue in many industries because of COVID. Whether they were physically ill or not, employees had to isolate for long periods if they tested positive or were a close contact with someone who did. In the healthcare industry, this was an even bigger issue as employees are naturally more exposed to contracting the disease. For many healthcare businesses healthcare scheduling software has been vital to helping them to find available staff members to fill gaps caused by COVID casualties in the schedule. These tools continue to be important in solving the issue of absenteeism in healthcare businesses while also helping business owners to create their schedules with ease and manage their teams with more confidence.
The number of people contacting medical care providers throughout the pandemic reached new heights, as people were naturally concerned about their health. Despite a large number of requests for appointments, medical providers were able to manage the surge through practice management software. With this technology healthcare providers were able to manage their schedules more efficiently, update patients about changes to practice protocols, keep them up-to-date regarding their treatments and manage other areas of the practice at the same time. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the uptake of these technologies and moving forward practice management software will become the norm.
Video Calls With Patients
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the normal thing to do would be to see your healthcare provider in person when you need to speak with them. Due to the contagious nature of the disease, healthcare providers had to find new ways to meet with their patients to diagnose and treat their medical issues. Many facilities began a vetting system where every non-emergency patient’s first appointment would be by video conference call. This allowed the healthcare provider to speak with the patient without any physical contact and decide whether further investigation was required with an in-person appointment. Not only did this help healthcare providers to continue providing their services while maintaining complete distance but it also helped them to see more patients in a shorter period of time, streamlining the process at a time when there were more requests than ever before. In the current landscape, this practice is still a popular approach.
Providing A Safe Environment
When patients do visit the premises of a healthcare professional, their experience is now very different to what it was before the pandemic. In many cases, walk-ins are still not allowed and instead, all appointments must be booked ahead of time. In the waiting room, chairs will be more spread out to adhere to social distancing guidelines and posters offering COVID safety advice will adorn the walls. Sanitising stations will also be in place and facemasks will most likely be worn too. As medical facilities and the healthcare workers that work there are at greater risk of contracting the disease simply because of their work environment, many of these measures are likely to remain in place for longer than they might at other public locations.
Stay Safe And Be There For Your Customers As We Move Forward
As some parts of the world begin to return to normality after a wave of lockdowns and ever-changing restrictions, it is now more important than ever to employ best practices when it comes to COVID. Your healthcare business might have changed how it operates but your purpose has not. As we continue to move forward, it’s crucial that you continue to be there for your patients, both in-person and virtually, and that you do what you can to keep them and your staff safe as they go about their important work.