Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.
COVID-19 is changing how medical practices provide care to patients, with providers implementing new safety protocols to keep patients safe. By implementing new protocols, providers can reduce the spread of COVID, safely interact with patients, and ensure social distancing practices.
Here are some new protocols medical practices are implementing during COVID-19.
As part of the new guidelines, medical practices should ensure bed capacity, alternative office visits, and sitting plans. Developing a designated sitting area that adheres to distance guidelines, allows patients to practice social distancing. Practices should implement simple screening questions to evaluate patients before and after a visit.
Practices should coordinate with public health officials and local hospitals to ensure test availability and for high-risk patient assistance.
Protocol for walk-ins: It may happen that a patient walks into medical practice without screening. Have visual advertisements in front of the facility to inform of new protocols i.e calling, scheduling, answering a questionnaire. Please note on advertisement if same-day appointments are possible.
Clinicians should become familiar with the infection prevention and control guidance
As the pandemic continues, medical practices are finding alternative ways to connect with their patients. Practices should create a transition plan to prepare patients for care through virtual means. Developing a telehealth plan with patients and staff allows providers to communicate with patients and minimize spread. Telehealth plans should include meeting patients online via telehealth platforms to discuss non-surgical or in person issues. By using platforms virtual platforms, like Google Hangout providers can assess patient needs and meet where they’re at.
Ensure patients that telehealth can update their health status and care without office visits, limiting spread. Medical practices should connect with public health officials, health plans, and insurers to promote coverage of telehealth, medicine, or advice line services. This will help patients feel at ease as they navigate through coverage and payment issues during this time.
Medical practices should include staffing care policies in their plan. Facilities should monitor staff health, through daily temperature, questionnaire screening, and symptoms checks before work.
Practices should assess staff health and limit staff exposure to suspected patients. This includes connecting with health and government officials to ensure PPE availability, to limit staff exposure. Medical practice protocols should include plans for absentee or short staff days, this could include cross-training or hiring temporary staff.
It is important for medical practices to implement new protocols as practices open. Medical practices can adequately care for patients and staff by implementing new protocols such as, pre-screening, telecommunication, and developing a staffing plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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