COVID-19 Policies for Medical Offices
by Katie Palmer 10/6/2020
Why are COVID-19 policies important?
It’s essential to implement policies specific to COVID-19. Especially in the medical and dental field. Why? Because healthcare and dental employees are at the top of OSHA’s occupational risk pyramid for COVID-19.
Also, because these policies can put the minds of your patients at ease. But it all starts before they step foot in your office. To make more patients more likely to come to your practice, you have to prove to patients that you are taking the virus seriously.
Create a COVID-19 Section on your Practice Website
Many dental and healthcare practices have a section on their website that explicitly explains what they are doing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
This section of COVID-19 policies relaxes your potential patients. It also makes them more likely to schedule a visit with you. Think of all the COVID-19 policies you have in place as a marketing tactic for new patients. It will also keep previous patients around.
How to Post COVID-19 Information on your Website
You want to keep relevancy to the patient in mind when writing your COVID-19 section. It’s probably best to skip information about your HVAC system, and focus on changes that affect the patient experience.
As for the more technical details that don’t apply to your patients, you may choose to omit these altogether.
Extra tips for your COVID-19 Website Section
- Make the COVID-19 section impossible to miss on your homepage. Or at least use a link to COVID-19 section, and encourage clients to look at that page.
- Keep the focus on patient and staff safety.
- Make it easier to read by using readable language. Leave out medical jargon that patients won’t understand. Make your list scannable in bullet points or a numbered list. Keep it basic, and avoid being political.
- For policies that are the patient’s responsibility, such as wearing masks, make the text bold.
- Consider giving patients multiple options about how they can check-in and wait.
- Let the patients know your policies for the staff.
What COVID-19 policies should my office implement?
- Screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms over the phone when they schedule their appointment. When they arrive for their appointment, screen them for temperatures and symptoms. Document their temperature and symptoms (or absence of symptoms).
- Enforce correctly worn masks for patients and staff.
- Make sure patients don’t bring anyone with them unless they need to. If they need assistance, allow a limited number of people to come with.
- Limit the number of patients in the waiting room. Take away chairs, or have patients wait in their cars. Put away all objects in waiting rooms that cannot be cleaned easily, like magazines and toys.
- Post visual alerts in entrances and other strategic places, such as bathrooms and breakrooms, to provide instructions for hand and respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette. Train your employees to follow proper hand hygiene.
- Limit the number of employees who are exposed to aerosol-generating procedures.
Check out the websites of other practices to see how they’re displaying COVID-19 information. For example:
- Encompass Health
- MINT dentistry
- White Rock Dental Group
- Charlottesville Dental Care
- Seattle Dental Co.
Employee Training & Education
Protocols are useless if employees are not trained in how to follow them. OSHA writes advice for dental practices throughout the pandemic: “Train and retrain workers on how to follow established protocols.”
Smart Training specializes in providing compliance training to dental and medical professionals. We have a free healthcare and dental-specific COVID-19 training module. The online training module is available 24/7 and will train your staff on the best practices on how to stay safe during the pandemic. We also have a survey you can take to see if your office is HIPAA and OSHA compliant.