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Panic and the Coronavirus

Covid-19, better known as the coronavirus is causing workers to take sick days and patients to stay home.  The conventional advice is “don’t panic”, which is always much easier said than done.  While you have no control over much related to the coronavirus, what you can control is your response to the impact it is having. And the more proactive you are the better off your business will be today and tomorrow.

10 Steps to Take to Alleviate Patient Concerns

  1. Spread appointments further apart to avoid crowded waiting rooms.
  2. Encourage patients to wait in their cars and contact them by cell phone when it’s time to come into the office. Keep an extra phone handy in case they do not own or forgot to bring a phone.
  3. If multiple patients in the office at the same time cannot be avoided, move them to an exam room to limit the number of patients in the waiting room.
  4. Keep multiple containers of disinfectant wipes in visible locations throughout the office.
  5. Display your infection control protocol/procedures prominently in every room patients might enter (really in every room period is a better idea).
  6. Explain your infection control protocol/procedures in detail when booking or confirming appointments.
  7. Be prepared to email or mail your infection control protocol/procedures to current and prospective patients.
  8. Make a note on your social media platforms that you have stringent infection control protocol/procedures in place and to contact your office for additional details. Do not display the protocol online, you’ll only open a can of worms with individuals expressing their often uninformed opinions on what you aren’t doing correctly.
  9. Do not allow employees who are displaying any signs of illness to come to the office.
  10. If you can get a supply of travel-sized hand sanitizers, give them out to patients who come to the office as a thank you and a shared recognition of the issues we’re all facing with this disease.

Ignoring the 600lb gorilla in the room by telling patients not to worry and to come in any way may work with a few, but it’s not going to work with everyone. Be proactive, display a sense of preparedness, and the appearance that you are doing all that you can out of concern for their safety and well-being. Finally, investigate the purchase of Business Interruption insurance. The language will vary from policy to policy and may or may not cover every scenario, including this one. But, fires and natural disasters are not an infrequent occurrence, and planning is never a bad idea.