Getting Your Practice Up and Running Post Pandemic: The Broad View
By Mark Wendling, MD, Executive Director, Valley Preferred
Now that most counties in Pennsylvania have moved into the green phase of this pandemic, enterprises across the state are getting back to business. That includes physicians’ practices who may have been closed completely, or exclusively providing video visits for patients. Since this reopening process is brand new for all of us, Valley Preferred wanted to share some thoughts, and provide guidelines, the latter gleaned from health authorities such as the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Pennsylvania’s Governor Wolf.
We’ve been through a four-month period of either partial or complete disconnection. There was no warning, and no opportunity to plan how to function or how to return once the pandemic subsided. Now that we’re seeing positive trends in the virus, how do we begin to resume our practices, especially since every medical specialty has differing needs?
To start, we need to take stock of what’s changed. We developed some efficient work-arounds that we should consider keeping, such as telehealth. How do we continue to utilize telehealth to design better care? Can this technology improve patient access, increase our patient panels, and extend our potential patient reach? Can it provide more rapid access for pediatrics, for example?
Contagion is another area we certainly improved upon. Have our new behaviors clued us into how to make our practices safer and more sanitary? Can we improve on spatial relationships and contact inside the office?
The takeaway from COVID-19 is that there is no going back to how things used to be – forward is the way to go. We need to think about how to use what we have learned to improve on protocol, procedure, cleanliness, and access, toward the goals of more capacity, better outcomes, and improved efficiency. Taken all together, this is a time of great opportunity: not just to get up to speed, but to bring practices up to a whole new and better speed!
Getting Your Practice Up and Running Post Pandemic: The Logistics: Five steps to moving forward