3 ways to reassure patient safetyPosted: June 30, 2020 - By Elizabeth Velez
Ensuring patient safety during the pandemic is paramount to encouraging patients to return to your practice and continue to book future appointments. In addition to treatment, patient care also involves making patients feel safe and secure. When you’ve reopened, your patient’s first appointment back is an opportunity for you to show them that their safety is your number one priority. Here are 3 simple and effective ways to safeguard your patients and employees, and establish a safe office environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Communicate and listen
Prepare patients before their appointment by setting expectations. Clearly communicate with pre and post appointment instructions about COVID-19 related procedures that affect them. Listening to your patient’s concerns is important to maintain trust. Give patients opportunities to voice any concerns they may have prior to their appointment. We are all experiencing the pandemic with varying levels of unease, and it’s important that your patients trust that you are genuinely invested in their safety.
- Reduce the need to touch common surfaces
According to a recent Forbes article, “the COVID-19 coronavirus can live on glass surfaces for up to two days, and stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to four days.” While continually disinfecting surfaces is critical to maintaining a sterile environment, removing some high-touch items from your practice will increase patient and staff safety. By replacing or removing once standard items from your practice, you will successfully reduce patient anxiety and the risk of COVID-19 infection. Consider removing the need for items like sign in forms, pens, pencils, magazines, water coolers, and any kid’s play area.
- Prepare for appointments
Prior to taking appointments, make sure your office is well prepared to protect patients and staff as best you can. Maintain a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff and ensure that your staff is wearing PPE while in the office. Also, make hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes readily accessible. Patients need to see that your staff is taking all precautions in order for them to feel safe in your office. If possible, offer mobile check-in for patient appointments to best maintain social distancing protocols and manage patient flow inside the office.
Patients will continue to make future appointments with you if you’re able to make them feel safe. Knowing that their concerns are heard and answered accordingly will strengthen your patient’s trust in you, which will ultimately encourage them to return. Taking these simple steps will help prepare your office and position your practice as a safe environment for your patients.