How to prepare for reopening your clinic for face to face consultations
Guidance on when we may see patients face to face is changing daily, so it makes sense to get prepared to patients who may need to be seen face to face. Depending on your particular clinical area, there will be specific guidance from your advisory body.
For instance, if you’re a physio in Private Practice, currently the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists is stating that “You must undertake a risk assessment and make a clinically reasoned decisions for offering either a face-to-face or remote consultation for each patient and for each of their planned contacts. You must document your rationale for these decisions”. They also say that “Members may become legally liable if they fail to risk manage treatments and their clinical environment to safeguard patients”. CSP advice link
In contrast, the GMC says that when Doctors are weighing up the factors about deciding whether face to face care in necessary, one of the reasons “face to face treatment be preferable” when “You need to examine the patient”. GMC advice link
This feels a little ‘woolier’ but the reality is many of us who would currently be seeing patients in a Private hospital setting, are still shut out, because most of our patients don’t meet the time-critical criteria for treatment.
Whether you’re planning seeing patients sooner, or later, it’s hugely important that you ensure you’re protecting your patients and yourself and the Government has issued advice on the recommended PPE you should be using, depending on your clinical setting. Government PPE advice link
Now I know you already know the above, and you’re probably looking up suppliers and wondering how it’s all going to come together. So whilst you’re doing that, it’s key to think about how your patients need to be informed about how you’ll taking care of things.
Reassuring patients about face-to-face consultations.
Many patients will be terrified of making a trip into town to see you in person, and many patients will be chomping at the bit to get to see you and get a hit of those magic hands of yours.
Now is the time to ensure that you can demonstrate how you’re be carefully taking care of them if they do visit you, and what that clinic visit experience will be like.
When your typical consultation style is always friendly and approachable and may include a hug for your favourite octogenarians, you may be concerned at how this is going to impact on the vibe of your consultations. Many patients may feel a little anxious about being treated by a clinician in PPE, so it’s important to pre-empt this, and explain what to expect.
Rather than send them a dreary email talking about how you’ll be “wearing a single use Type IIR surgical mask” when you meet, why not record a quick video instead?
You could take them on a video journey, e.g. through the front door of your clinic (with its frequently cleaned door handle) via the waiting area with its socially-distanced seating, and into your clinic room where it’s the same old lovely you who’ll be greeting them (except you’ll be wearing a lot of plastic clobber ; )
If you’ve just the space for one patient to wait at a time, you might want to make reference to arriving exactly on time (not earlier, not later), to avoid having to hang arond outside in the cold. Why not draw attention to nearly parking places that drivers could use, or places to safely chain up a bicycle?
Inject a bit of your persona into your message and reassure patients that you can support them in the way that is right for their needs, either remotely, or in person.
Pop your video up onto Vimeo or YouTube and ping it out to your patients in an email.
? Don’t forget to make a cheery, branded thumbnail to go with it! ?
The new shape of your Private Practice.
But what I really want to talk to you about is what you want your Private Practice to look like going forwards. I’m sure many of us were initially envisaging that there would be a time when clinic was closed and then a time when it was re-opened, returning to how it had been before.
The reality is, we may never go back to the way we were working before, and even if you’re tearing your hair out over lost income and a drought of patients, I want to encourage you to use this time to really, I mean really reflect on the clinical life you want going forwards.
Are you going to compress your face-to-face consultations into just one day, or dot video consultations in between the face to face ones? Are you going to increase the number of video consults you’re offering, or offer patients a mix and match approach (e.g. see them face to face for the initial consultation, and then via video for the follow ups?).
Are you going to run more virtual Pilates classes, or even drop a clinic location entirely?
If you need help to boost your Private Practice during the coronavirus pandemic, why not book a Ninja Power Hour with me. It’s a great way to get actionable advice that you can implement straight away, with no further onward commitment.
Book your Ninja Power Hour by clicking here