For your patients confined to home, whether ill or out of caution, regular virtual contact to check on status and serve as a trusted resource is important. Here are 5 tips on how to do it.
It is likely that many US primary care physicians have patients who are quarantined at home, either infected with COVID-19, being cautious because of an underlying health condition that makes them vulnerable, or simply staying committed to maintaining social distanceThe reality of the pandemic for frontline healthcare providers includes a growing list of obstacles to providing effective care: increased patient load, longer hours, and reduced care teams.Â So how to stay connected with these vulnerable and isolated patients in a way that fits into the new workflow? Below are 5 tips on how to keep in touch and why the regular contact is so important. (Based on a recent article on our partner website, Medical Economics.)
Automate communication (as much as possible). Leverage patient-centric technology to automate regular check-ins with your quarantined patients.
Create filters for and send group messages. Within your group of patients in isolation, determine as specifically as you can what subsets they fall into and then tailor your regular communications with them to their specific information needs.
Be consistent in tone and cadence. People are scared everywhere and even more so if they are isolated. Healthcare providers can be a calm and steady source of support by providing authoritative updates, local public health information, and reminders about how to stay safe and how to treat symptoms if infected.
Over – not under – communicate. HCPs can give patients something to expect from us-daily, weekly, or in between. In a time of uncertainty when there is much false information readily available, clinicians can be a trusted source of timely and accurate information.
Check in virtually (with telehealth visits). A quick video conversation can often be enough to assess whether a patient needs hospitalization. Consider scheduling a block of time each day for virtual check-ins with a few of your quarantined patients. This will help you keep a close eye on any progression, and proactively identify concerns as they arise.