Your website will be the best way of keeping your patients informed of current operations. This may include reduced hours, adoption of telehealth services or office closures. Keep the information up-to-date and include the date when things are published as information is quickly dated.
Adding an Alert Bar
Utilize an alert bar in the header of your website to update your patients on COVID-19 and Telehealth services. The alert bar will remain at the top of your website throughout vs. a message residing on the homepage alone. Keep the message brief and link to a page with details.
COVID-19 and Telehealth Pages
Include a webpage about COVID-19 and how your practice is responding to the current circumstances. Keep your messaging simple and to the point. With the rapid changes, it is best to link to reputable sites like the CDC and your state health organizations that are frequently updated.
Why should you add a COVID-19 page with Telehealth Information?
At Fuel Medical Group we’ve produced COVID-related pages for a number of our members. These have been a significant source of cross-page traffic, and analytics data shows how interested visitors are in this information.
The following graph shows traffic levels for a member’s COVID-19 page. This page contains information about the coronavirus, how to mitigate health risks, how the practice is responding, service changes, and telehealth additions.
COVID-19/Telehealth Page Performance
What should go into a COVID-19/Telehealth Page?
There is no one right way to create a great COVID/telehealth page for your medical practice. We have found the following information to be most useful. Many practices are choosing to include this on a single page, but splitting it into several pages can be better for patients when there is a lot of information to take in.
- Inform patients about how the practice is responding to coronavirus
- Show how existing appointments and practices have changed
- Show how to make new appointments
- Provide digital versions of patient forms
- Explain how a patient can protect themselves in daily life
- Explain how you are protecting patients during this time
- Provide step by step instructions for any tele-video or audio appointments
- Explain what will occur during a telehealth visit
- Elaborate on larger changes to specific services and appointment processes
Building trust with transparent communications
Your patients depend on you. Being transparent now about what your practice can and cannot do and when you expect to resume routine services continues the trusting relationship you’ve built between your patients and yourself.
Because you aren’t the only business they’re experiencing these changes with; patients are likely to be understanding and accommodating. Everyone has had to adapt, and this can help make the transition to telehealth and distance services a little easier.
Be informative with telehealth instructions but make it an easy read. Considerations:
- Include instructions for scheduling an appointment and what the patient can expect from their virtual visit. Use an actively monitored phone/voice message system, request a visit contact form on your website/landing page or an online appointment scheduling software. Your patient portal or office management system may be a good place to start.
- Do you require patient forms in advance? If so, where are they accessible? Consider downloadable forms on your website. Alternatively, there are solutions for electronic patient forms. Keep in mind security of handling PHI. HIPAA regulations have been lessened, however, consider how these processes may be adopted beyond COVID-19.
- How does the patient login for their appointment? Do you have step-by-step instructions easily accessible on your website?
Tip: Be considerate of the patient experience through these challenging times. Keep in mind that this is likely a first telehealth appointment for many of your patients.