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How To Create A Welcoming Contact-less Clinic

August 11, 2020 Acupuncture Practice Management

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As you’ve built your clinic, you probably have tried to anticipate every detail that could make the patient experience less intimidating, more inviting, and more representative of your quality of care. Now, all clinics have had to adapt their approaches to care because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Many clinics offered a high-touch, welcoming environment through the accumulation of small gestures like staff members warmly greeting every patient, tea available as patients wait, inviting patients to remove shoes, and sending hand-written notes after initial and annual appointments. As practitioners, you have likely tried to personalize the care of your patients by crafting individualized treatments and by celebrating successes with your patients. Sometimes, “high-touch” even meant hugs to show empathy or celebrate success.

Even through COVID, the goal remains the same—to provide patients with the best possible treatments and to make them feel cared for during their journey, whatever the outcome. As more is discovered about this sneaky, highly infectious virus, clinics have had to rapidly change their practices. At first glance, it seemed that the concept of “high-touch” patient care would be gone forever. As you settle into the new realities necessary for patient safety, you may be wondering how you can still maintain a “high-touch”, welcoming environment without smiles and a waiting room.

Review and update services and appointment reminders to proactively set patients’ expectations

Look to update your appointment reminders to let patients know what they can expect. Asking patients to arrive alone, on time, and to go directly to treatment rooms can be a shift from their previous interactions with the clinic. Updating your appointment reminders with clear instructions can help to put your patients at ease. Patients want to know that their health and wellness are being taken seriously when they venture outside. Here is a template you can consider adding to your reminder emails to guide your patients’ expectations upon arrival. It might feel stern, but it reminds your patients’ that you take their health seriously.

Greet your patients’ remotely

Upon arrival, your patients may have a few questions. Through signage, provide information on how patients can wash their hands or find hand sanitizer, and where masks are required. If you do not have a front desk staff, consider assigning patients to a room by putting their initials by a room number on a whiteboard. Treatment rooms with soft lighting and music can be welcoming and calming for your patients. 

Use contactless herbal fulfillments

Not only can herbal and supplement prescriptions increase your clinic revenue by 25%, they are a wonderful way to support your patients’ outcomes. Through systems like Fullscript, you can prescribe herbs and supplements and have them shipped directly to your patients’ door. Fullscript allows you to offer discounts to your patients which help ensure compliance. By giving your patient’s access to ordering in Fullscript, you also empower them with an easy tool to refill their herbs from their own homes, while also ensuring the quality of the prescriptions.
Fullscript and Unified Practice have a direct integration, so you can prescribe right from the SOAP note. Patients used to receiving herbal prescriptions before COVID will feel at ease by knowing there is a contactless solution to support their treatment plans similarly to before the pandemic.

Consider Telehealth Options

Patients that are high risk, or live with someone high risk might not be able to, or might not feel comfortable coming into the clinic, but still want the preventative and holistic treatment options your clinic provides. Offering guided meditations, herbal consults, qi gong classes, or teaching acupressure are all great options to provide remote treatment and support the health of your patients. Telehealth appointments offer face-to-face interaction and help to maintain rapport and relationships with your patient’s during this time where they might feel overwhelmed by the number of changes they’re navigating. Even brand new patients might feel more comfortable because their partner or caregiver and favorite hot beverage can be present through the appointment. 

Person watch video class

Set up remote payment options

Some merchant services providers allow you to collect payment information when the appointment is booked, or store credit card information on file to check patients’ out seamlessly. By setting up this option, you are creating another way to support your patients’ health while limiting physical interactions like touching someone’s credit card. If you’re a Unified Practice user, be sure to check out our new credit card processing integration which allows clinics to require a credit card to book appointments. 

Check In! 

Regular communications make a huge difference to your patients. Right now, it often feels as though mask mandates and requirements are shifting constantly. Email and text message marketing are great ways to remind your patients about the high quality, supportive care they can receive during this time and to keep your patients updated on any changes you are making to clinic hours and services.. Even through all these shifts, creating a welcoming environment is really about connection – demonstrating to patients that you are committed to their care.

Elements of in-clinic practice have changed, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still create a “high-touch” environment. Through small gestures, personalization, a focus on treatment, and thoughtful follow-ups, you can still create an emotionally supportive environment with your patients and achieve wonderful patient outcomes in a time where you are needed more than ever.