The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the economy and affected thousands of businesses, medical clinics, and allied health practices are no exception.
From the reduced number of patients coming in for non-emergency and routine care to the increased risk of infection for patients and healthcare workers, the impact of the pandemic is significant.
Clinics have to rapidly adjust to changing circumstances if they are to survive. The challenge then becomes: “How do you keep your clinic running profitably while ensuring the safety of your patients and employees?”
Here are four tips to easily adapt your clinic to these unprecedented times.
Tip #1: Create and automate revised workplace staffing patterns
Reducing the risk of spreading infection is important — especially for those working in the healthcare space such as nursing homes where risk can be higher. Without a careful plan to manage workplace safety for medical staff, one sick patient could quickly impact your entire team.
So you need a staffing model that won’t leave your business shorthanded on staff coverage. But you also need a model that can help mitigate the spread of the infection to your staff at any one time.
And, when it comes to patient care, you can’t be distracted. Here are some ways to use templates so you can focus on your patients.
Use alternative scheduling patterns. For some businesses, your schedule pattern might be one week on/one week off. For others, you might use a buddy system or daily rotation. Not only are they easy to maintain, but these patterns can help contain infection if someone on your team gets sick.
Automate your alternative schedule. Once you’ve determined which alternative schedule is right for your business, automate it by creating a scheduling template. This means that you can easily lift a shift across weeks, creating consistency for both your business and your staff. Templates will also reduce the admin work of trying to schedule manually.
Adopt shift swapping for medical staff. Allow employees who work in the same squad or rotation to swap shifts so that you can avoid being short-staffed when one of your caregivers can’t find childcare.
Tip #2: Dig into new patient flow and business demand metrics
While some appointments may have been postponed earlier this year, your clinic might be seeing more patients now. And if that’s the case, you’re likely to see some different trends than you did previously.
Since we’re still going to be working amidst a certain degree of change and uncertainty for a little while, you need to build flexibility into your operations and manage flux in patient flow and demand.
Track key metrics. Keeping track of metrics like labor percentage (wage to revenue percentage) and adjusting your staffing accordingly, can help you stay on top of your operating costs, even throughout dynamically changing demand.
Consider telemedicine. If there are parts of your business that are suited to seeing patients virtually, implement it. There are hundreds of cloud-based clinic software that make telemedicine accessible, inexpensive, and secure.
Build flexibility into your operations. Enable staff to quickly pick up shifts to cover increased demand, or to swap shifts with a colleague with an employee scheduling software that has a mobile app. This ensures that your practice can adapt to changing circumstances quickly.
Tip #3: Streamline your communication
Text messages, phone calls, video chats. There are so many ways to communicate with your staff, your patients, and even your friends and family.
And while having those options is helpful, when it comes to communicating with your team, you need to make sure that everyone is aligned. If you use too many tools, an important message, like new hygiene protocols, could slip through the cracks.
Here are three ways to streamline your communication.
Use a workplace communication tool. Having a central hub where all important communication is shared will make it easy for all of your staff to be on the same page.
Require read receipts. Turn on read receipts to ensure that all staff have read important messages. You can also pin important messages at the top of your newsfeed.
Use reminders. Keep important information such as health and safety protocols on top of everyone’s minds by using reminders.
Tip #4: Continue to keep safety first
As a health professional, health and safety have always been part of your process. But you might not have thought that applies to things like scheduling, staff communication, or even timesheets.
This new normal means that in your clinic, you should continue to make safety a priority. And apply that to everything that you do. Here’s how you can keep everyone safe.
Use video. Demonstrate health and safety protocols such as hand washing and social distancing using video so that your employees can understand them clearly and comply,
Use touchless clock-in. Minimize employee contact with time-clocks by using a touchless clock-in system that has face and voice recognition. Alternatively, employees can also use a mobile clock-in system to avoid spreading infection.
Do a pre-work check. Ensure that your employees are not sick before they come into work using a simple free tool. If an employee has symptoms, you will be notified so that you can follow up.
Ease into the new normal
The changes brought about by the pandemic require clinics to adapt by implementing new staffing patterns, keeping up with changes in patient flow and demand, streamlining communication, and keeping safety first.
Make the new normal easier when you sign up for a free trial of Deputy.