Establishing a “New Normal” for Healthcare Practices

3 Minute Read

As we reflect on the intense activity during 2020, we discover that our new normal is based on an agile ability to pivot quickly. Just when the road ahead seems clear, new events are likely to shift the guidelines again.

The healthcare field was forced to pivot in significant ways due to the pandemic, responding with lightning speed to unprecedented disruptions to routine and emergency care – fluctuations that persist to this day. We have seen massive changes related to healthcare business models, patient relationships, running a successful practice, and incorporating telemedicine into future scheduling norms.

That said, new learnings, habits, and processes translate into an updated model for successful healthcare practices and health systems moving forward.

Plans provide a head start, but success is determined by PEOPLE

Successful practices plan for and anticipate any scenario – whether security breaches, natural disasters, or power outages. Strategic planning is one of the most crucial elements a healthcare practice can undertake to successfully navigate the unexpected.

Hiring dedicated, hardworking people who persevere in times of adversity while demonstrating empathy, superior service, and outstanding character. From the friendly on-site clinical staff to the attentive care associates handling communications via your patient scheduling software, engaged employees will make all the difference in your practice’s ability to rise to the challenge.

Communication is more important than ever

The only way to combat some of the stress felt by a workforce – or patients – is to keep them informed. You may not know significantly more than your last communication, but it’s important to ensure channels are in place to reach important groups quickly.

As we look ahead to the new normal, we anticipate practices will continue to need to notify various groups about changes affecting work shifts and patient appointments. It will be critical to quickly connect to different workforce segments, groups of clinicians, and patients. Establishing clear protocols for staff communications and implementing proven patient scheduling software will eliminate the time drain associated and duplicate work associated with mass outreach.

Embrace a mindset of flexibility and built-in elasticity

The ability to pivot and respond quickly requires new levels of flexibility and elasticity. While these concepts seem related, they are two distinct ideas.

“Flexibility” is the ability to change direction. It might mean letting go of specific tasks and shifting to a new priority or new method of operations, all for the sake of the greater good or goal.

“Elasticity” demands some degree of flexibility, but it suggests building out plans that help scale up – or down – quickly. Areas like staffing, services, and financials can benefit from elasticity. Great teams embrace flexibility and plan for elasticity.

It’s okay to ask for help

The fast-moving landscape is pushing most healthcare providers and health systems to new limits – testing knowledge, skillsets, and resolve. Now is the time to turn to experts who can fill in those gaps more quickly and more thoroughly. Consider the wealth of knowledge that exists from business partners, mentors, or consultants.

Similarly, it’s time to BE an expert that others can lean on. Show a willingness for sharing knowledge, advice, and expertise. The healthcare industry can and will come back stronger when all parties work together.

Release a desire to return to the old idea of “normal”

As we learn to manage the pandemic, there is no going back – only looking forward. Healthcare will never return to February 2020 operations. Knowing what is possible will shape our new version of “business as usual,” from how our workforces and clinics operate to what patients expect from providers in the future.

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