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Summer Is Over, But COVID Is Here To Stay

September 17, 2020 Acupuncture Practice Management Health News

Since COVID-19 began spreading months ago, we have been learning to navigate “the new normal.” Gathering information, hoping for good news, and learning to adjust to life during these times can be exhausting and overwhelming. But one thing is certain – life is continuing to move on and we must adapt.

Your practice has likely undergone some significant changes – whether temporarily closing its doors, offering telehealth options, or establishing limited contact procedures for in-person appointments. We know these changes have been very challenging for our field and we are all working to find solutions that are safe, personal, and practical. 

Over the last few months, we have focused on being a resource for you and your practice and we will continue helping you and your practice succeed any way we can. Here are some tips to help you transition into fall!

Make patients, visitors and staff feel safe and comfortable with these simple changes to your clinic:

  • Temperature checks – purchase a touch-free, infrared thermometer to use on every person entering the clinic at all times. If a visitor has a temperature above 100.4℉, send them home and reschedule their appointment.

  • Mask requirements – ensure all team members in the practice have masks on at all times, as well as enforce any visitors to the clinic to wear masks. Consider offering disposable masks or sell masks at your front desk if a patient forgot to bring one.

  • Clear signage/labelsfor new check-in procedures, waiting room requirements, social distancing, etc. Make sure all visitors know how to access your clinic with the new rules in place by providing clear guidelines, instructions, and signage. Update your patient “appointment reminder” emails to outline the new patient and clinic protocols. Need some help creating signs for the clinic? We have some templates that you can download and print out here!

  • Hand sanitizer + disinfectant wipes – supply hand sanitizer, soap in restrooms, and other antibacterial products like wipes, disinfectant spray, etc for patient, visitor and staff use. Having cleaning products readily available can help ease patients back into the clinic and provide them comfort that the practice is clean.

  • PPE – you may not be used to, or even dislike, using gloves, masks or goggles when treating patients, but now more than ever, you should consider offering this additional level of precaution to your patients, for both their safety and your own.

  • Stagger in-person appointments – adjust your schedule so that patient arrival, check-in, and check-out are staggered with no overlap. By staggering appointments, you can reduce the number of patients in your waiting room as well as set aside additional time for patient room cleaning and air out.

  • Table paper vs linen – while you may have used table linen for a more comfortable and aesthetic experience, we recommend switching to table paper during this time. Table paper helps spread germs and is easy to dispose of between patients.

  • Practice CNT (Clean Needle Technique) – When working with all patients, use a clean field, don’t touch anything other than needles and the patient while you are treating, use a powerful disinfectant on your cups or other tools, and avoid patients’ faces whenever possible. If you are concerned about a patient’s health, don’t be afraid to turn away someone with symptoms. Offer to reschedule their appointment for a later date or refer them to another practitioner (as is legally required when you deny treatment).

  • Offer Telehealth – are you offering telehealth options to your patients yet? A lot of patients still have concerns about receiving in-person treatment and may feel more comfortable scheduling an appointment with you virtually. Check out our telehealth tips here.

  • Provide patients with alternatives – as this is an ever changing time for us, we must be fluid and able to adapt new practices. One suggestion we offer is to ask patients to take a photo of their tongue the day of their appointment so you do not need to examine it in person, but can still provide treatment and solutions.

  • Engage in constant communication with your patients – if you are not already doing so, we recommend developing a communication plan to make your patients’ experiences more personal. Whether you prefer to send emails weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, send text message reminders/check-ins, or post on social media, your patients will be happy to hear from you! A communication plan will allow you to stay in front of your patients during these strange times and remind them that you are there for them. Here are some tips for communicating with your patients!

We know this has been a challenging time and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to continue to do your jobs and run your practices. We are working hard to develop new features, gather resources and offer solutions to help you through this time.