• COVID-19 Reopening Strategies From the Front Line

    Heather Modjesky, COE, senior administrator for Conestoga Eye in Lancaster Pennsylvania, provides four key strategies for effective leadership during the COVID-19 reopening and recovery. Ms. Modjesky advises that adhering to the strategic focus of the practice, being adaptable, practicing patience and continually sharing information to the entire eye care team are the foundations for successful crisis management.

    • Ensure the big picture remains in focus. Each day as your practice adjusts protocols to respond to social distancing and state reopening guidelines, it is essential for ophthalmic leaders to focus on the larger view. Ms. Modjesky emphasizes that as your procedures change, “make sure staff know the overarching goals” and how these day-to-day changes align with the big picture.
    • Being adaptable and flexible are the new norm. Surrounded by ongoing change and the daily need for reassessment as new regulations are published, leaders must be adaptable. During reopening, Ms. Modjesky advised that the best approach is to “stay flexible and keep it simple” when adjusting clinic procedures. As leaders model these characteristics through behavior, employees and patients will follow suit.
    • Old habits are hard to break. “Much of what we are doing with our staff is re-training habits,” said Ms. Modjesky. Learning new protocols will take time during the first few weeks of transition. Leaders and physicians should be mindful of this adjustment and “realize that patience and grace should be extended not just to patients, but to the entire staff as well.”
    • Solve problems as a team. “We are keeping all communication open and oversharing so that everyone is updated.” Constant communication can be challenging but during the COVID-19-era it is essential. Using virtual platforms to stay connected and facilitate discussions is an effective method during recovery. Employing new ways to communicate continually will allow the entire team to contribute to problem-solving in real-time. Ms. Modjesky adds that, “We have been ‘oversharing’ so everyone is updated, feels safer and is more flexible with the next change.”

    Heather Modjesky, COE, is a member of the AAOE Practice Recovery Taskforce and a contributing author of Reboot Your Practice: Post-COVID-19 Recovery Roadmap for the Ophthalmic Practice.