Communications Within Your Practice During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Featured article |

Communications with staff during this coronavirus pandemic is essential for ensuring the safety of patients and staff.  What was once discussed in a weekly team meeting or passing by in the hallway must now be done virtually.  Protocols may change daily, so increased communications to staff is necessary.

Some things to consider ensuring essential communications are delivered:

Create a shared document site. The document site which could be set up on Sharepoint or a Google drive should contain your policies and procedures.  They can be specific to new procedures during the pandemic, or because practices may be faced with a “new normal,” you can look to the long term and create a system that you can use going forward. With a shared site, practices can ask staff to confirm that they have read all the policies and procedures. Do not share any patient information on a non-secured site.

Create procedures specific to the pandemic. Your staff needs to understand what to do when a patient just shows up in the office; or when they call to say they have tested positive for the virus only days after an in-office visit. While these FAQs or procedures may not be used after a few months, it will help so that staff does not have to call a practice administrator or clinical leader for every issue.

Start a Zoom weekly team meeting. It’s possible you met with most of your staff on a specific day to discuss the upcoming week. Continue the plan – but through a video call site. This gives staff the opportunity to see each other – from a distance – and discuss possible issues of the new operating procedures. As long as you are not sharing specific patient information, you do not need a secure channel. But be aware that some video calls are being hacked. Do not share your link externally, but rather through email or text.

Designate a staff member to receive emails about internal concerns. Staff may have been able to directly approach a practice leader or administrator in the past. Create an option for them via email or phone. They may not want to bring up any issues in a team meeting.

Remain transparent. Patients and staff are nervous about what is happening outside their doors. The immuno-compromised are worried about exposure. Be transparent about why you have created certain procedures and be ready to address any internal questions or concerns. And show compassion to those with concerns, especially as tensions run high during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 practiceconsulting@amerisourcebergen.com with any questions for your practice.