We’ve recently heard from our users about how they are using OhMD to protect their staff and patients from the potential spread of both the Coronavirus and the flu. After a few conversations with OhMD users, here’s a list of a few things you can do in your practice with OhMD to use telehealth to address the Coronavirus
1. Text patients with appointments to ask if they have been traveling
Prior to a patient appointment, practices have been texting patients to ask if they have been traveling. Most practices find it difficult to get this information from a patient any other way as patients are unlikely to answer a phone call.
Practices are using a combination of OhMD tools to accomplish this. As patient appointments are nearing, some practices are using OhMD’s Broadcast Messaging to ask many patients at once if they have been traveling.
2. Text with patients about symptoms
Other practices are using two-way SMS for texting patients directly. Patients can text back and forth with the practice phone number (read more about how that works here), which is managed by the same team that manages phone calls.
Telehealth can be a far more efficient way to discuss symptoms with patients rather than trying to reach them and playing phone tag. This way, your team can determine if patients should be coming in for their visit sooner, or being treated at a nearby hospital if necessary.
3. If they have a fever or cough, ask patients to stay in their car and text your practice
Even if a patient indicates that they have not been traveling, practices are putting signs or posters on their front door telling patients to send a text, then wait in their car if they are showing symptoms of sickness that could indicate flu, cold, or even the Coronavirus.
We spoke with Dr. Janet Pate of Bellaire, Texas about how she and her team are managing this at her practice (Nurture Pediatrics).
…if they have fever, cough, even without travel, we ask them to text us upon arrival, nurse goes to the car with appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) and swabs the child’s nose for flu test before they leave their car. CDC has recommended no swabbing in office unless there is a negative pressure room.Janet Pate, MD. Nurture Pediatrics.
While it may seem extreme to swab patients from their car, hospitals in the UK have begun to setup drive-thru testing for the Coronavirus, where patients can be swabbed without going inside.
4. Video Visits
Telehealth may be the only way to replace in-person visits while we deal with the Coronavirus crisis. It’s important to make these video visits as simple as possible for patients. Downloading an app is only going to hinder the adoption of telehealth. Make it easy to launch telehealth visits with a simple text message.