Unfortunately, COVID-19 is here to stay; predications are currently that we will be dealing with the pandemic on a large scale until late 2021 at the earliest, and most likely into 2022.
With the sudden occurrence of lockdown earlier this year, many fast decisions were made to make healthcare facilities safe for use as the pandemic hit. Over the past few months, there has been little time for healthcare professionals to step back and take a wider look at their practice with all that has been going on. However, with COVID-19 safety precautions looking like they will remain a part of day-to-day life for a long time to come, now is the time to re-think the approach of healthcare practices to work effectively through the virus over the coming months or years.
Read on for our tips on adapting your practice to COVID-19 in the long run.
Gathering Patient Data
One of the best starting points for this process is with your patients. This can be simply through talking to patients during your day-to-day practice work and finding out what their pinch points have been in medical care through lockdown, or by more formal means such as a website survey sent out to patients after they visit your practice asking them a few key questions about their experience and their current COVID concerns. How are patients finding remote video consultation? How comfortable are they with visiting your practice in person and do they feel the quality of care has been impacted by COVID-19 considerations?
Collect any data like this from the staff in your practice and segment it into appropriate categories in a format which will allow an easy overview of the information available.
Discussion with Your Clinical Team
It’s also important to have a formalised review process of how your practice team feels about the current processes implemented due to COVID and additional measures they feel should be taken. This process can take place in person if possible or through an online group video call – the important thing is that your whole team gets to talk about how their work has been impacted, including key figures such as receptionists who are responsible for managing patient flow. This discussion should include a breakdown of the data gathered from your patients, with a back-and-forth conversation about how this feedback relates to your team’s experiences and what lessons learned can be carried through into your work.
This discussion is also a great opportunity to have a formal thank-you to all staff for their work over the past 6 months and to make staff feel like their voices are heard in what can be trying times.
Back to Basics
As you start to rethink your current approach to adapt to COVID-19 long-term, now is the time to gain a clear sense of what your practice’s values and priorities are. What does it mean to work in your practice? What are your core values and how are these demonstrated in your work? What kind of behaviours do you want to encourage and what shared principles do you hold?
These will form a foundation for answering all future question you encounter – not just as you implement new COVID measures but throughout your work moving forward.
This is a tried-and-true method when it comes to looking at where you currently stand and how you can move forward. Look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to explore where you are currently succeeding, areas where you require improvement and to gain a basic roadmap of where you need to prepare. How will you continue to deliver services over the coming months or longer? How will you manage your workforce and what opportunities and threats might there be to your work in this area? Where do your risk management and safety procedures currently stand and how might they progress as the current situation changes?
Forming a plan
Once you have gathered all available data and points of view, it’s time to form this into a plan for the future with concrete steps and measures. With the current situation constantly changing, there will likely be several contingencies to your plans, but it’s important to have clear targets and actions in mind. This is also where the principles decided upon earlier come into play; though the environment you are working in will continue to change in unpredictable ways, you can continue to make decisions based on your key values as a practice which can be applied no matter the scenario you face.
In the current times, managing your practice’s finances on top of your other responsibilities can be a challenge, especially with the constantly-changing NHS landscape. Get in contact with BW Medical today to discuss how our specialist medical accountancy services can take the burden of financial management off your hands.