• Connect With Your Referring Providers During COVID-19 Reopening

    Maintaining positive relationships with referring providers is a cornerstone of an ophthalmic practice. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to communicate the status of your practice reopening with your provider community.

    Although referring providers are focused on their own reopening, connecting with them is important in order to maintain positive working relations. Make sure to provide them with your current practice schedule, patient expectations and safety measures. Physicians should personally reach out and share reopening updates.

    Here are some strategies to maintain positive relations with your referring providers:

    • Scheduling Capabilities: Share your scheduling capabilities if your practice has extended hours to nights or weekends or has reserved time for emergent consults.
    • Safety Protocols: Review your practice safety procedures to determine what referred patients will need to know prior to arriving at your practice. Before your consultation, collaborate with the referring provider to confirm the patient’s expectations as this will improve overall satisfaction for the patient, the referring practice and your own.
    • ASC or Hospital Surgery Status: Determine the current surgery scheduling capacity and any patient screening or testing requirements prior to surgery. The referring provider can share these details with their patients before referring to you for a surgical consultation.
    • Telemedicine Options: Provide your current offerings for telemedicine encounters. Share the specific types of conditions or patients that may benefit from these visits. If there are specific virtual platforms you use or pre-encounter expectations, outline those steps so the referring provider can prep their patient.
    • Marketing Materials: Offer to send electronically any new patient communication handouts related to the reopening phase along with appointment confirmation cards, physician biographies, and request-for-consultation forms.
    • Virtual Continuing Education: Continue to provide optometric or physician community ophthalmology education during the pandemic. If you typically offered these sessions face-to-face, transition to a virtual platform and stay connected. If possible, offer shorter sessions more frequently and focus on relevant topics related to the pandemic, as appropriate.
    • Potential New Referrers: Look outside the cohort of your usual referring providers and connect with a potentially new referrer. As the healthcare community continues to be in flux, receiving a personal call to offer your consultative services may be well received.
    • Contact Information: Confirm that your referring provider can contact you directly if necessary. Offering your cell phone number or email address will add the personal connection and opportunity to stay connected throughout the pandemic and beyond.