April 1, 2020 by Dr. Calee McClure Article COVID-19, Business Management
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Communication is key in helping patients maneuver through our new normal. With all the uncertainty in the world today, many patients may find comfort in hearing from you – their trusted healthcare provider – about the current situation, what they should be doing to protect themselves, and how they may be able to obtain care from their chiropractic team.

CTInTouch, a two-way patient communication tool available to ChiroTouch users, is one way to keep this communication pathway open via SMS or email messages to your patient database. It can be used in times of emergency to send urgent notifications that affect your patients specifically or the larger community. Regardless if you have InTouch, let’s look at some considerations you may want to make in developing your own emergency communication plan.

Message Content

Your strategy should start with what needs to be said and why. Ask yourself: Is this information urgent and / or relevant? If the answer is no, it probably does not belong in an emergency communication plan and should be saved for patient engagement communications sent later. In general, emergency communication messages should fall under these topics:

  • Changes in office hours or closures
  • Rescheduled appointments
  • Availability of telehealth or virtual appointments (if applicable)
  • Safety protocols and proactive health tips
  • Relevant community news and resources

When crafting your message, consider your tone and slant, or the viewpoint from which you are delivering this news. Try to convey your message in an unbiased, fact-driven way using a calm but reassuring tone.

Message Frequency and Delivery

Finding a balance with your message frequency between the extremes of too many and too few will help you connect with your patients and ensure they continue to read your messages. If possible, map all your potential messages in advance. Be sure to account for the messages you expect to send and those that may be in response to breaking news. With this overall view, you can better judge how many communications you may want to send and when. While patients at every practice are unique, most people appreciate no more than 1-2 messages per week.

If using InTouch, it’s possible to segment your patient base into groups so only certain people receive messages. This helps ensure the messages they receive are relevant and prevents over-saturation.

Cite Authoritative Sources Only

Stay away from spreading misinformation. When sharing news or facts, closely scrutinize the information source. Typically, government or official organizations (.gov or .org websites) are the most reliable, creditable sources. Unless the fact or statement is yours alone, be sure to give credit to the issuing source. This helps protect you as well as provides a way for the message recipient to research the matter further.

For instance, when sending out a communication on a safety protocol or new standard operational procedure reported by the CDC link back to that source. You may consider sending a message of this type the day before patients come in for a scheduled appointment. Reminding patients of your new standard operational procedures will help keep everyone safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 or any other illnesses. (Pro tip: If you are worried about lengthy URLs making your message too long, there are services that will “shrink” the URL. Bit.ly and Ow.ly are two such free link-shortening services.)

Provide Reassurance

We all know everyone is adjusting to a new daily routine, which can be stressful. Providing health tips is a way you can keep patients engaged with your office, let your patients know you are here for them, and provide them with something proactive they can do to improve their health and well-being. Recommendations on stretches, exercises, meditation or even how to set up a work-from-home space can be super beneficial and welcomed information.

This type of information can be shared via InTouch or even the bulk email feature found within ChiroTouch. Pick a weekly topic, create your content, and share it with your patient base. Providing a weekly health tip each Monday morning is a great way to start off your week!

 

ChiroTouch provides this information with the understanding that authors or speakers are not experts in finance, regulatory policy or law. ChiroTouch shares this information to the best of our knowledge and experience. The information is subject to change as the COVID-19 crisis evolves.

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