How Facilities Can Prepare for the Surge in Elective Care
On the heels of the Trump administration’s guidelines for reopening the economy, CMS Administrator Seema Verma discussed on Sunday new guidance on how some facilities can begin to provide non-emergent, elective care. While these recommendations are for regions and states with low incidence of COVID-19, it’s clear that the train for elective procedures is quickly heading back on track.
Many facilities want to resume these procedures quickly, especially those that have suffered financial strain due to the delay of elective procedures, but it’s important for them to go about this in an orderly and sequenced manner. Even states that have already started Phase I of opening up for elective care will need help going about the process, ensuring a delicate balance between increasing availability for these procedures and minimizing future COVID-19 risk.
During this transition period, health care facilities and workers would be wise to think of how they can strategically prepare for this impending surge of non-emergent care.
Be Patient, Yet Proactive
While we are seeing the initial stages of our new normal in health care, our industry will never be quite the same as it was before this pandemic and we all must accept the reality that the process of industry-wide recovery will require patience.
That said, exercising patience doesn’t mean these facilities and providers can’t also be proactive, taking steps now to prepare for the surge of non-emergent care. Patients should start researching options and alternative locations for receiving care, and scheduling or rescheduling procedures now, if they haven’t already. Additionally, patients may be wary of entering back into hospitals following the pandemic, so it will be important for hospitals to take safety precautions to reassure patients that it’s safe to return.
Take It in Stages & Maintain the Human Connection
As we’ve seen throughout this crisis, the U.S. health care system has finite resources which have been already stressed to the brink. Approaching a backlog of elective care in stages will make the post-COVID-19 transition more efficient for providers and consumers, than if they try to resume everything at once.
In the initial stages ashen facilities start to help patients schedule and reschedule appointments, remember that this is an emotionally trying time and it is critical to prioritize the human connection in all communications. Trained concierge assistants, such as our SmartShopper Personal Assistant Team, will be critical to creating a seamless experience for consumers helping them understand their options, guiding them to high-value facilities and helping them to schedule and reschedule appointments. Technology can help make patient communications and engagement more efficient, but the human element is a much-needed and important component, particularly in health care.
While the pace of resuming elective procedures varies by state and region, all facilities should be using this time to prepare, so they’re not catching up down the road. Facilities should also be keeping a close eye on forthcoming recommendations from CMS, as they continue to help facilities navigate this difficult time. Closely following this guidance and properly preparing will not only optimize the transition back to more regular care for health care facilities and workers, but will also make the journey easier to navigate for patients as well.