Only a few weeks ago, our days consisted of traffic jams, work meetings, and seeing friends and family. Following the worsening Coronavirus outbreak, today’s reality is very different with social and physical restrictions. 

We thank all our doctors and medical teams on the frontline working around the clock to keep us all safe and healthy. Yet, to support their efforts in these unprecedented times means we must change the way we, society as a whole, interact and think. Instead of our first thoughts being of  “emergency”, “hospital”, “doctor” during the Coronavirus outbreak, we must now think of “technology”, “home” and “community”. How can we use technology to stay at home to limit the spread of the virus for the better of our community?  

Here adopting digital solutions can ensure continued healthcare services through remote doctor-patient interactions, while avoiding the spread of the virus. It can also help our health system frontline, where resources are being stretched like never before, better cope.   

As we understand these are difficult times, we would like to share some of our experiences and tips that we hope will help you digitize patient-care interactions, better triage patients and reduce strain on resources.

1) Shift to self-scheduling and self-registration approaches

With healthcare worries increasing and patients unsure whether they may have the coronavirus, health systems are facing increasing scheduling demand. At this very moment you are probably seeing your staff extremely busy, in fielding and taking calls.  

In these scenarios, digitizing patient interactions through using self-scheduling and self-registration solutions can help you better triage urgent cases, prioritize resources and reduce numbers visiting clinics and waiting in crowded spaces. 

2) Add coronavirus online pre-screening questionnaires for better triage

Ensuring the safety of our frontline healthcare workers, including our medical teams and office staff, as well as other onsite patients, is a critical priority for all health systems and for all of us patients. 

Adopting online pre-screening questionnaires is one way healthcare organizations can remotely understand patients current health conditions, and provide different care options and instructions. By capturing important information about the patient prior to the visit, the whole health system can better prepare in this difficult time. For example, healthcare workers have better insight to defer less urgent appointments, patients can be asked to self-quarantine without visiting the clinic and doctors have more time to continue the best of care for patients. 

Not only will this help reduce strain on resources, but most importantly it can help avoid COVID-19 positive patients from spreading the virus on their way to and in the clinic.  

If you are already using online and chatbot scheduling, consider adding COVID-19 related screening questions to your scheduling flow. Many of our existing clients are seeing positive impact in helping them better triage patients according to their organization protocols. Please email covid19@odoro.com to receive a free workflow example to support your activities.

3) Incorporate a self-assessment tool into your website

Adding an online self-assessment tool with follow-up instructions to your website can help patients quickly determine whether they need to be tested for COVID-19 and what they need to do next. 

Easy-to- implement and understand online questions such as “Have you been experiencing symptoms? Which ones? For how long?” can help you quickly better profile patient needs. Depending on the answers provided, health systems can then make more informed decisions as to whether to allow the patient to schedule an appointment.  

4) Leverage reminders and messaging for improved communications

In times of uncertainties like today, health systems can leverage technology to communicate what’s going on, such as sending COVID-19 communication updates and reminding patients of urgent care events. Using smart reminders and a messaging platform with flexible rules can enable you to inform a specific set of patients with relevant updates. This means there is no need to spam everyone, instead provide targeted and relevant COVID-19 communications that get read.

5) Enable self-registration and appointment check-in for better safety

COVID-19 is proving a highly infectious virus that can live on surfaces for several hours to days. This increases the risk of spreading the virus when we touch shared objects. 

Using self-registration and appointment check-in, where patients can digitally fill out and sign forms, all from the comfort and safety of their own device, can help lower this risk.   

By using these tips, we can go some way to helping reduce human interaction and make medical teams work safer and easier. Along with many other precautions health systems are taking, let’s hope that together we can reduce the spread of the virus.  

Take care and keep safe,

The Odoro team