• Positively Impact Your Patients With Direct Physician Communication on COVID-19 Safety Measures

    As your ophthalmic practices reopens, you may find that patients have concerns about the safety of in-practice visits. One of the most effective ways to minimize patients’ concerns is through a direct call from the ophthalmologist to the patient. Not only will this help allay patient concerns, it sends a very strong message that the physician cares about the health and well-being of the patient and demonstrates the practice’s commitment to safety.

    There are various opportunities for the physician to communicate safety precautions to patients:

    • Phone calls to patients scheduled for upcoming appointments.
    • A follow-up phone call when patients decline scheduling due to fear of virus exposure.
    • Conversations can be via phone, FaceTime, or a secure EHR portal. Avoid email and social media channels as they are not a secure means of communication.
    • Confirming the importance of specific protocols during the patient encounter.

    When a personal conversation cannot be achieved, additional methods of connection can also be used. These will also complement your other patient communication efforts:

    • Write a personal letter or blog to all patients discussing safety protocols.
    • Create a patient video presented by the physician. In the video, the physician outlines “How Your Ophthalmologist is Protecting You.”
      • Publish the video on the practice website.
      • When scheduling patients, extend an invitation from the physician to watch the video.

    Detailed communication about your practice’s protocols should be present on your website. Summarize the various physical modifications to the office, the pre-encounter screening process, improved infection prevention and control, social distancing accommodations and meeting state reopening guidelines.

    Patients will always be grateful for the ophthalmic care they receive before, during and after the pandemic. But they will also be greatly impacted and never forget the experience of a personal message of reassurance during a crisis from their ophthalmologist.

    Review a patient experience walk-through video produced by Ravi Goel, MD, senior secretary for practice management and member of the AAOE Practice Recovery Task Force and contributing author for Reboot Your Practice: Post-COVID-19 Recovery Roadmap for the Ophthalmic Practice.