Will Covid-19 make my business better?
Hannah Roberts of Penn Farm Podiatry looks for the silver lining of the current crisis and explains why online video appointments are here to stay.
As the government guidelines were changing day by day, my thoughts centred around “but how will I help my patients?” It quickly became clear that I was going to have to run things very differently now. I was desperate to get things quickly sorted and so I started reading about online video appointments.
I openly admit I took quite some convincing. I did a lot of research. But I am now a complete convert.
Can online video appointments be as good as “face to face” in clinic appointments? Yes. In fact, in some cases they can be even better. There is a greater emphasis on taking medical history, which means I can better understand patients’ needs and values. Bad traffic is no problem and patients and children may feel more relaxed at home in familiar surroundings. Asking questions and explaining becomes even more important. And it encourages treatments that involve self help and patient empowerment. Of course, some patients will need to continue their treatment in clinic. But this time will be brief because I already have lots of information and the patient and I have already discussed their treatment plan. In our current environment, minimising the time patients spend actually in clinic is safer.
To become “covid-19 ready” I ended up down a rabbit hole of paperwork and systems. The very first thing I did was update both my cleaning and hand hygiene policies. Next I signed up to an exercise program called Physitrack. Patients are given an exercise program that can be viewed on an app downloaded onto their smart phone. I’d been intending to do this for ages, but the need to help people from behind my computer made this a priority.
Although I’d set up Mailchimp several years ago, I’d never really got to grips with it. Now seemed a perfect time to utilise this tool as another way to communicate with patients and hopefully provide a reassuring voice. A blog on my website is something I’d been toying with a few years ago - my web designer Jane is working on this as we speak! I’m becoming adept at updating my website and can now make most changes without my Catfish Web Design instruction guide beside me. I am so glad I invested in a website that is proving to be adaptable and future proof.
The reality is, my turnover right now is looking fairly miserable. But I have some new tools to help people despite the obstacles. And if my business can survive, I think it will thrive. This year’s “to do” list has become a lot longer, but quite a lot has been ticked off. A pile of updated forms and policies is never a bad thing and revising my data management helps me check I’m keeping my patients’ information safe. I now have online video appointments, online payments, a fab new exercise prescription app, a bit of practice with marketing and my very own blog!