Natural disasters can occur anytime, anywhere—and even healthcare providers have to prepare for them. During trying times, it’s important to have a backup plan in place to ensure that you can get back to work as soon as possible.Establishing plans to maintain your flow of communication during an emergency can also take a heavy weight off your shoulders, since you won’t have to deal with as much anxiety and stress regarding your medical practice during an already difficult situation.
When it comes to disaster preparedness, it can be confusing to even know where to begin.There are many aspects that need to be taken into consideration when you’re creating a preparedness plan that will be effective and easy-to-follow during a disaster or emergency.However, one of the first factors you should consider is communication, since it can be easily affected during an emergency. Being able to communicate with your patients,providers, staff, and community during and after an emergency can be invaluable for a medical practice.
Here are some of the reasons why you should start thinking about disaster preparedness for your medical practice:Maintain a stable, open line of communication with your patients. In the event of a natural disaster or emergency, it’s vital that your patients are able to communicate with you.
They may need urgent medical care, advice, or simply information about appointments and procedures which had been scheduled before the emergency. But in many cases, emergencies can cause damage to phone or internet lines, roads, and other means of communication. This can isolate you from your patients, who may need your guidance now more than ever.
An answering service can provide an easy solution to this problem. Even during a disaster,remote operators will still be handling your phone lines with a professional, warm tone. They will be able to take messages and rely them to you as soon as possible, keep patients informed, and centralize all communications to your practice in an efficient manner—even if you experience an abnormally high number of phone calls due to the emergency.
Update your community on the status of your practice. Certain disasters can lead to property damage at your practice. This damage may be mild and only require a few days of work in order to be repaired—such as cleaning and organizing, replacing light bulbs, or painting your practice’s walls.But depending on the type of disaster that has affected your area, you may need some extra time to get your practice back in good shape.
If this is the case, you should implement preparedness strategies that allow you to keep your regular patients and community updated as you get back to work.This is another ideal task for virtual answering services, since they’ll be able to send out automated texts and reminders to notify your patients of your reopening date.
They can also notify patients if you temporarily move your practice to a different location, making sure that this information doesn’t get lost during emergencies.Virtual answering operators will also be able to set up appointments in advance so that your practice can reopen to a full, up-to-date schedule to minimize losses and return to normalcy as quickly as possible.
Make sure you can communicate with providers during an emergency. Patients aren’t the only group that will probably need to communicate with your practice in the event of an emergency. It’s also important to have the ability to reach your providers quickly, since they’re also an integral part of the operations of any medical practice.
Being able to communicate with your providers can serve many purposes during or after an emergency. If some of your supplies were damaged during the emergency, it will be very important to refill your inventory before you reopen to the public.
You could also need to cancel or delay an order if your practice must stay closed while you repair any damages.In other cases, you may need to be reachable in order to settle bills and collections with your suppliers if other forms of communication are unavailable.
Virtual answering service operators will also be able to communicate with your practice’s providers according to the instructions that you establish. Even if it takes you longer than usual to be able to receive orders or pay bills, being able to stay in touch with your regular suppliers can be a huge advantage when it’s time to reopen your practice.You will also be able to receive any messages your suppliers leave for you, and it will be easier for you to remain in good standing with each of them.
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