Covid-19 as a Motivator for Change
Change management is by no means a new concept. Companies have been challenged to make adjustments or even completely reinvent themselves for years. There are quite literally hundreds of articles, books, and lectures about the subject of change management and how to do it efficiently. When it comes to inevitabilities like adopting new technology, cycling through trends, or innovating to keep ahead of competitors, you must be willing to change.
In simple terms, the ability to initiate and react to change is what separates the companies that you know and love from the ones that don’t survive. In today’s world, Covid-19 is the change that is testing us.
No one is untouched by the effects of Covid-19, least of all the healthcare industry. Restrictions have been put on care procedures, which stifles possible revenue. Practices and providers are being held to unprecedented expectations, which can negatively impact morale. Patients are having to jump through hoops to be seen, which ultimately leads to having appointments rescheduled or canceled altogether. Companies in the United States – healthcare and otherwise – are standing at a precipice and having to make decisions that will have an incredible impact.
Because of this decision making, it’s our job to figure out how to make everything that we are doing right now worthwhile on the other side of this. It might be hard to imagine, but yes, there is a life to be lived after Covid-19. Which forces us to ask ourselves the question: change management is something we know we’re supposed to do, but do we know how?
Here are a few specific steps that can help guide us in the right direction.
The first step is vision.
Having vision means having thorough awareness of what’s going on right now, as well as having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish in the future. One of the best examples of this is how quickly we’ve transferred to utilization of telehealth to complete visits while following care restrictions. Is this something that practices will continue doing in the future to better utilize providers’ time? In all likelihood, the answer is yes. It’s best to do all you can now to be prepared for that new aspect of healthcare when we reach our new normal.
Having vision means also having a plan. How will you prioritize visits that have been pushed out once patients are able to book appointments? How will you recover revenue that might have been lost due to office closure? How will providers know if all of their effort is benefitting them in the long run? It’s time to find answers to these questions.
The second element is communication.
Communication is always important in business. But today, it is going to take an extraordinary amount of communication to ensure the success of healthcare organizations. How are all of these changes going to be positively impactful if not everyone knows what they should be doing? It is going to take communication in regular intervals and in reasonable doses to make sure that everyone is gaining a profound understanding of how their roles might be shifting, rather than getting overwhelmed.
With the lack of knowledge about what exactly patient care is going to look like a few months from now, the one thing that is to be expected is a learning curve. This means that communication is going to need to be executed both ways. With an open dialogue between practice leadership and staff, it is more likely that changes will be successful and well adapted to.
The final element is action.
After putting all of your efforts into preparation and planning, the next step is to… take the first step. Implement your plan, and make sure that all of your staff has been properly trained. Proactively schedule patients, so that appointment slots aren’t being filled by eventual no-shows. Load balance providers to help alleviate burnout. Maintain an understanding of higher-value appointments so that you are properly allocating your resources. Keep in mind that adjustments can be made along the way as you navigate what works for your team and what doesn’t.
Opargo can help you do all of these things without a second thought. Automated scheduling, load balancing, and frequent reporting will help keep your healthcare organization running and healthy even in the wake of unprecedented circumstances. Our solution is long-term and addresses issues directly. We are doing what we do best: optimizing healthcare, so that you can do what you do best: care for your patients.