Within a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has not only taken more than 15,000 lives in the U.S. alone, but it’s taken on the entire global economy with a vengeance. For healthcare organizations, COVID-19 is requiring a multifaceted response that many health systems just don’t have the resources to handle. Not only do hospitals have to respond on the frontlines of the pandemic, they also have to plan and prepare to survive when it’s all over.
Elective surgeries and procedures have been cancelled to preserve supplies and reallocate staff. Outpatient volumes have plummeted (estimated 30%+) due to stay-at-home orders and consumer fear. While we can hope the federal government steps in with some financial assistance, savvy organizations know they have to take matters into their own hands to ensure long-term sustainability. Here are some tips for weathering the COVID-19 storm so you can remain strong and viable in the coming months and years.
- Deploying & Promoting Telehealth – While organizations that didn’t have a telehealth strategy six months ago may be at a disadvantage right now, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the game. Launching a successful telehealth program in a matter of days is possible – as proven by dozens, if not hundreds, of health systems across the country. Launching and deploying telehealth successfully requires a comprehensive patient engagement, communications and marketing strategy, constant reminders, and an exceptional experience. It also requires strong knowledge and good working relationships with payers as they get onboard with the nuances of billing and reimbursement for this model of care. Telehealth is not new or temporary, it is here to stay with tremendous growth and opportunity on the horizon.
- Communicating & Engaging with Patients – Don’t let your patients forget about you – or their health. Make it easy for them to get the care they need – and we know that all care can’t be delivered virtually. Reach out to your patients – via email, phone, text or whatever means they prefer and remind them why receiving care from you is still safe and important. Highlight everything you’re doing to ensure your staff and patients are well–protected from COVID-19.
- Focusing on Marketing & Future Strategy – While many organizations are slashing marketing budgets, now is not the time in healthcare – particularly if you’re in a competitive market. Maintaining an authoritative, calm, and expert presence during a pandemic by using all advertising and marketing channels including digital, paid, and earned media will help you maintain market share you can’t afford to lose. It’s also essential in helping to message to those in need of reassurance and care. Even better – set aside a team now to develop a comprehensive strategy for all key service lines that will be ready to launch as soon as COVID-19 turns the corner in your market.
- Protecting & Appreciating Staff – As most hospitals know, your staff is your greatest asset. Right now, they’re putting their lives and the safety of their loved ones in jeopardy, while delivering critical care on the front lines. They do this because they’re committed to what they do and more so, they’re committed to the patients and communities your health system serves. Make sure your staff knows that you appreciate them and that you are committed to their safety and well-being. This will look different for every health system, but regular, open communication and creative gestures of appreciation go a long way! Other health systems are offering a variety of unique perks including hazard pay, childcare services, mental health services/employee assistance programs, paid meals, and more. Whatever your organization can do to protect your most important asset is a small investment for a great cause not only today, but well into the future.
GeBBS Healthcare Solutions offers a full spectrum of outsourced medical billing, collections, coding and telehealth expertise – which can help busy health systems that may need to reassign team members to lend a hand with COVID-19 efforts. GeBBS also offers a full continuum of revenue cycle management solutions to help vulnerable healthcare organizations protect their bottom line today and after the COVID-19 pandemic is behind you. To learn more, visit gebbs.com