Tips for Practices to Keep Patients and Staff Healthy
Practices around the country are offering tips on procedures they have implemented, including:
Triaging patients in the parking lot. One member of the nursing staff and possibly a medical assistant, in PPE, will triage patients in their car – taking temperatures, drawing blood for labs, administering shots and getting general health information. One practice even has color-coded stickers (one color per day) to show a patient has been triaged before entering the practice.
Asking patients not to come into the office to check in. When possible, patients text or call to let staff know they are waiting in the parking lot. This helps if patients must be driven by a caregiver or family member, so only the patient is allowed into the door when the waiting room is clear.
Providing PPE and scrubs for staff. When available, PPE is provided to any staff member seeing patients. Some practices are providing scrubs which are removed in a room closest to the exit, where the scrubs are bagged and cleaned as soon as possible.
Setting schedules according to need. Staff are scheduled to limit exposure to each other by distancing in time and space. Typical schedules have changed to allow some staff to work longer but fewer days so they are away for the office for a larger block of time to make sure they show no symptoms of any virus. Some practices have also opened up evening hours and weekends to allow for that distancing.
Implementing a procedure for vendors. With some vendors coming into the practice to pick up medical waste or linens, or even making deliveries, some practices have designated a secondary exit that allows vendors to enter one room, staying away from staff and patients, but still allowing the deliveries and pickups to be made. Practices are also calling vendors the day before to get a window of time when they plan to arrive.
Creating a plan for higher risk providers. If providers are immune-compromised or live with a family member who is, some practices have arranged to have those providers work on telehealth appointments, avoiding direct patient contact in the office or at a hospital. A practice who had two providers specializing in the care of a specific patient population also arranged for one provider to work remotely, so not to have two providers potentially be exposed to the coronavirus.
Our associates are working with practices to help navigate the uncertainty in this pandemic. We are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures for the practices we serve. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions for your practice.