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March 18, 2020

Technology to Help Your Practice Ease Coronavirus Fears

- Written by Cathy Kuhn, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, director of Strategy Consulting, Updox

The emergence and spread of COVID-19 across the United States has resulted in mandatory quarantines, economic disruption and consumer panic.

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Healthcare systems and independent providers alike are beginning to see a flood of patients and a strain on resources. In response, government officials are making strides to prevent further spread. And technology is a core component of this response strategy. In fact earlier this week the White House convened a call of America’s tech giants to ask for their help. 

Here’s how tech tools can alleviate your community and staff from the effects of COVID-19.

Inform Your Patients With Broadcast Messaging

Are your patients aware that the Coronavirus is thought to spread by touching your mouth, nose or eyes after coming in contact with surfaces that may be infected? Do they know the symptoms they should monitor if they suspect they have contracted the virus? Do they know how long the virus can live on surfaces?

Patients are looking to you as a leader and source of truth in this time of unease. That’s why it’s imperative to keep them informed on how to stay safe. Whether through text, email or voicemail, mass messaging tools can help you easily and affordably communicate key updates to your entire patient population (or segments of them) in real-time.

Monitor COVID-19 Patients Using Telehealth

Speaking of symptoms, how should you manage patients that suspect they may have contracted the Coronavirus without putting you or your other patients at risk? Much like businesses offering telecommuting options to employees, the CDC is urging American hospitals and independent practices to explore options for assessing patients remotely. In fact, the CDC’s Nancy Messonnier, MD, stated that if the situation worsens, it will become essential for the healthcare system to offer medical appointments via telehealth.

This technology not only keeps foot traffic to a minimum as the virus spreads by expediting the initial diagnosis process, but it can also save providers time as the average telehealth visit is 25% shorter than an office visit. This added time in a provider’s day can prove beneficial as they are able to see more patients and allocate resources accordingly.

But what about providers that may not receive reimbursement for telehealth services? As a result of an emergency bill signed by government officials, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will pay doctors for certain non-face-to-face care management services and remote patient monitoring services.

Want to do your part in minimizing the spread of the Coronavirus by reducing the amount of foot traffic in and out of your healthcare facilities? Click here to learn more about your options. Updox can get your business up-and-running with broadcast messaging and telehealth today - all you need is a smartphone. Contact us today.

About the Author: Cathy Kuhn, PharmD, BCACP, FAPhA, is director of Strategy Consulting for Updox and serves as “voice of the clinician” for Updox solutions and services. She is past president of the Ohio Pharmacists Association and current president of the American Pharmacist’s Association’s (APhA) Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management and APhA board member.

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Topics: Blog, telehealth, telehealth patient engagement, broadcast messaging