Now that we are well in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians and dentists are searching for ways to make patients feel comfortable enough to seek treatment. A few ideas are becoming popular, depending upon the type of specialty, the type of care, the type of treatment that is required, and, most importantly, the patient’s comfort level.
Telehealth Treatment. This remains a popular option. Telehealth allows the practitioner to provide services through video conferencing with the patient, in a safe, HIPAA compliant manner. This method avoids any in-person treatment and eliminates the worry about safety protocols in the office.
Hybrid Treatment. This course of treatment involves both telehealth and in-person visits in the office. The practitioner can elect certain days that they will provide treatment in the office, with the same support staff, in order to limit exposure to and from the patients. This at least allows for a physical examination. The remaining days, the practitioner will continue to provide telehealth services to the patients as described above.
Concierge-Style Treatment. Another option is to pivot to a concierge-style treatment, in which the practitioner goes to the home of the patient and provides certain types of services in person, but at the convenience of the patient and amidst their surroundings. This would, of course, require caution, hygiene, and adequate PPE for both the practitioner and the patient.
Patient Membership Plan. For certain types of specialists, instituting a patient membership plan for the practice is beneficial for both the patient and the practice. This would allow steady income each month for the practice. It would allow the patients to have more access to the provider for questions or concerns between visits and could include a number of visits or telehealth sessions per month. It allows the practice to have closer doctor-patient relationships with their patients and to provide patients peace of mind about their continued health.
The ultimate goal is to continue the relationship between the providers and their patients, while maintaining, at the forefront, the health and safety of the patient. What practitioners will be able to do will wholly depend upon their specific specialty. The caveat to all of this is the well of uncertainty that comes with a pandemic. One thing is certain: Patients are still going to need care during this time, maybe more than usual.
Stephanie J. Rodin, Esq.
Rodin Legal, P.C.
Tel: (917) 345-8972
Fax: (917) 591-4428