For the past month or more, doctors in the US have had their hands full with the rapid onset and spread of the coronavirus. Affecting thousands of citizens each day, it’s all hands on deck to try to treat patients in need.
With an increased attention on patients suffering from this deadly virus, however, many doctors worry about their non-coronavirus patients. From those fighting off the flu or some other virus to those with preexisting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, lots of people aren’t getting the care they should be.
Some patients are afraid to come forward out of fear they’ll contract COVID-19, others hold off on contacting their doctor to avoid taking up precious time or available hospital beds for those they feel are in greater need right now. In any event, the concern is that there could be a lot of people out there suffering in silence. If you run a healthcare practice and have some of these same concerns, know that there are some effective solutions to help you treat and support your non-COVID-19 patients.
Many healthcare facilities across the country have implemented telehealth options. It is a digital platform that allows medical professionals to provide care and treatment to their patients remotely. Not only can this type of platform be instrumental in helping you to pre-screen potential COVID-19 patients, but it can be used to help non-coronavirus patients as well.
Advising your patients to utilize this application when in need of medical attention allows you to meet with the patient virtually and assess their health status. You can prescribe medication, provide self-care tips to treat their problem at home, or, if necessary, advise them to get to a healthcare facility or hospital for immediate attention. This prevents them from coming in the office unnecessarily (saving thousands of lives), but still provides them with an option to get medical care if they need to.
Healthcare websites are often one of the first reputable sources people turn to when looking for health advice. With the right information on it, your site can help to ease tensions and direct patients in the right direction for further assistance. Some healthcare facilities have uploaded a self-assessment tool or symptom checker that serve as guides to help patients determine if they have a serious health problem (or one that can be treated at home).
Posting updates about the coronavirus within the community can ease tensions of panicked patients. Blogs are instrumental in providing general advice on common health conditions and other health and wellness topics. Lastly, a resource page with links to other authoritative sites for further assistance. The resource page could contain things like extra help for prescription costs, hotlines and links to other medical experts (therapists, addiction help, etc), or official government sites like the CDC.
As concerned as you may be for your non-coronavirus patients, you’re only one person. At the time, you’re likely stretched to the max. That’s where having a dedicated team of assistants can come in handy. Assign certain healthcare personnel to non-coronavirus patient relations. With advanced technologies in the healthcare industry and beyond, these chosen individuals can work remotely allowing them to remain safe during the pandemic. They can answer incoming calls, respond to customer emails, monitor questions and concerns via chatrooms or social media platforms, schedule appointments, put in referral requests, assist with medical forms and documents, troubleshoot patient portal problems, and provide answers to basic healthcare questions your patients may have.
A Clean and Safe Facility
Unfortunately, there may be instances in which your patient is in need of an in-person visit. For those individuals not affected by COVID-19, the key to being there for them is providing a clean and safe facility for them to get the treatment they need. This means having separate waiting areas, examination rooms, and restrooms, clear signage with instructions to keep patients safe, regularly scheduled facility cleaning and sanitizing, and any available safety resources you can offer your patients including face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, or cleansing wipes (though these things can be hard to get your hands on).
As a medical professional you care about the safety and well-being of all your patients. In times when medical resources are low (medical supplies, staff, and facilities), you may be feeling unsure as to how you can be there for anyone in need (coronavirus patients or otherwise). Though this is a challenging crisis, utilizing technological resources such as those described above along with maintaining a clean and safe healthcare practice, you and your healthcare staff can continue to be there for your patients day and night.