COVID-19 is dealing blow after blow to the healthcare industry. Not only has COVID-19 wreaked havoc on healthcare professional’s physical and mental health, it is causing widescale financial damage to clinics across the country. Now that some states and communities are reopening, and healthcare is beginning to resume elective procedures and care that was temporarily put on hold, many clinics are wondering how to begin picking up the financial pieces.
Between having to cancel elective procedures, patients being unable to visit clinics due to stay-at-home orders, added expenses to acquire protective gear, and other obstacles, a majority of healthcare clinics are experiencing financial strain. One example is Seattle-based UW Medicine which has said it expects to see financial losses in excess of $500 million by the end of the summer due to a dip in clinical revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To offset losses, healthcare clinics are grappling with pay cuts and furloughs. But in many cases, those solutions are akin to a small band-aid on a very large problem. Healthcare clinics need sound strategies to minimize the damage. They need actionable steps that will help increase revenue as soon as possible.
This video shares a glimpse of some of the strategies that are part of Luma Health’s Revenue Recovery Plan for healthcare clinics:
Here is a closer look at some of the key steps Luma Health recommends healthcare organizations take as they work to recover financially from COVID-19:
1. Send automated messages to prompt patients to reschedule canceled appointments.
Recovering money that was lost due to canceled appointments is crucial. Reaching out to patients and getting appointments rescheduled is one step you can take to bring in revenue for your business. However, manually sending a message to each individual patient requires a lot of staff time. You’ll be able to reach more patients in less time by mass messaging all patients whose scheduled appointments were canceled due to COVID-19 disruptions. Luma Health’s Total Engagement Platform makes it easy to efficiently send automated text, email and voicemail messages to patients and prompt them to reschedule appointments. When sending text and email messages, include a link for patients to self-schedule their appointments. This simple strategy prevents your staff from being inundated with calls and gives patients more control over scheduling. In addition to prompting patients to reschedule their appointments, messages can include screening questionnaires that help quickly prioritize which patients need to be seen first, and whether patients have any symptoms of COVID-19.
2. Add self-schedule options and screening forms to your website.
In addition to reaching out to patients with automated text, email and voicemail messages, you can add screening forms and self-scheduling capabilities to your website. Doing this ensures patients who visit your site can easily get an appointment scheduled without having to call your office. By making it as convenient as possible for patients to schedule an appointment (i.e. they won’t need to call your office to book the appointment), you can fill the schedule without front staff spending hours on the phone. If you’re one of the many clinics facing a backlog of patients that need care either — because you had to cancel appoints during temporary closure or because nervous patients chose not to keep their original appointments — we’re here to help you get as many of these patients in for care as quickly as possible.
3. Offer patients telehealth virtual visits and a zero-contact check-in experience so they feel more comfortable seeking care.
You can ease patients’ fears and help them feel comfortable turning to you for care by minimizing COVID-19 exposure risks. Whether you’ve used telehealth some in the past or not at all, going forward it makes sense to expand your clinic’s use of telehealth. There are many scenarios when telehealth is appropriate for treating patients. And patients are showing they are comfortable with telehealth and willing to access healthcare virtually. Seizing opportunities to convert some of your in-office appointments to telehealth virtual visits helps reduce risks of COVID-19 exposures for patients and staff. If patients need to be seen in your clinic, you can encourage them to complete intake forms and pay co-payments digitally to minimize exchanges between patients and reception staff. Luma Health can help you digitize your check-in process and implement zero-contact check-in.
4. Lean on text messaging to make communicating with patients more convenient and efficient.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to adopt text messaging for patient communication. As restrictions ease and more patients attempt to access care, your staff may be inundated with phone calls. Enabling texting makes it easier for patients to get in touch with your clinic without long hold times. Many patients actually prefer texting for its convenience. And there are countless ways you can use text messages to drive efficiency — from appointment reminder text messages to sharing educational information about managing chronic disease. Texting is the future of healthcare communication, and embracing it now is a necessity.
The effects of COVID-19 on healthcare will be felt long after clinics reopen. Rather than returning to the normal, we knew before COVID-19, healthcare will settle into a new normal. But before we can settle into this new normal, there are sizable financial obstacles to overcome. Having a strategic plan to help recover revenue makes it easier for clinics to bounce back faster. Luma Health is here to help. Get in touch with us to learn how we can support your efforts as you work to regain revenue.