Patient Access & COVID-19: 4 Critical Steps Health Systems Should Take Now
As coronavirus puts healthcare consumers on increasingly high alert across the US, health systems have a critical role to play in meeting their information and access needs. With so many people turning to the internet to educate themselves, health systems can provide a much-needed trusted resource for factual information about the virus and its prevention, along with guidance on how to obtain appropriate care.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but in these initial stages, it’s imperative that health systems ensure that they’re making it easy for patients to:
Search for and identify appropriate providers online: ensure that consumers who come to your website looking for an appointment can search for coronavirus or its associated symptoms – along with related terms (e.g., covid-19, coronavirus, flu-like symptoms) – and find appropriate providers to see them. Health systems with urgent care centers or retail clinics should also make it clear to patients if and when they can visit one of these sites for evaluation. Kyruus is happy to help customers ensure such keywords are configured to surface the best providers and care sites.
Educate themselves with approved content: consumers are hungry for information about coronavirus, but google searches and media coverage can present an overwhelming amount of content - not to mention often inconsistent messages. Your organization can serve as a key source of verified, reputable information, providing resources for both maintaining wellness and treating illnesses. With regards to coronavirus, insight on what it is, how to protect oneself, what the symptoms are, what to do if they or a loved one experiences symptoms etc. is key.
Understand how to access any virtual care or e-consult options you offer: at times like this, virtual care provides both public health benefits and a good option for patients who need quick access to care while avoiding potentially exposing themselves or others. It’s not always clear to patients how to access these options, what’s available to them, or what the cost is though. Make sure that these are not only highly visible on your website, but also that you surface them within your find-a-provider experience so they appear in search results when consumers search for virtual care-applicable terms.
Learn how to prepare for appointments appropriately: once a patient books an appointment, health systems need to ensure that the pre-visit instructions they send are up-to-date and tailored to patients worried about communicable diseases like COVID-19 or influenza to minimize the risk of exposure - both for the patient and those around them. They should also help patients understand precautions to take with regards to preventing possible spread to people they live or interact closely with as they await testing.
Access to educational content, informed guidance, and self-service tools can help empower your patient community and dispel anxiety in situations like these, giving consumers a greater sense of control when they might naturally feel helpless. Kyruus is committed to collaborating with our customers and partners as we collectively navigate this global and local health issue, creating a pathway towards access to the care and information our consumers and patients seek.