The COVID-19 situation is forcing dental practices to adjust their operations in order to limit the contact between patients and staff. Though it will take a bit of work to redesign your intake process, there are many tools you can use to simplify this transition. Here’s a guide on how to create a virtual waiting room with minimal effort!
Implement a Virtual Waiting Room
To limit the contact between patients and staff, your team should implement a virtual waiting room. Having patients wait in their cars will reduce the contact points on hard surfaces, the number of droplets in the air, and face-to-face interactions with front office staff. This process will allow you to reduce contact to the bare minimum while still providing excellent care. If you use an automated patient communications system, it’s extremely easy to send out a text when you’re ready to see your next patient, so add this as an additional step to your communications.
To reduce contact on hard surfaces, your staff should also stop offering paper forms. You can easily switch to online patient forms if you use a service like ProSites. These customizable forms can be added to your website, allowing patients to complete their assessments before they arrive.
It will also be essential to prevent sick patients from coming into your office, so ProSites has already added a “Coronavirus Questionnaire” to our online form library. Your practice can easily add the ADA recommended health questions to all your patient forms, which allows you to reschedule patients who have experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past few weeks.
Notify Your Patients of New Procedures
To keep your patients informed about these changes, we recommend outlining the new steps on your website. You can create a new webpage that describes the virtual waiting room process, along with guidelines on when patients should stay home.
In order to avoid confusion, also send your patients an email detailing your new process a few days before their appointment. Here are some important details we encourage you to include in this email:
- The American Dental Association recommends that you conduct contactless temperature screenings for both patients and staff, so advise patients that their temperature will be taken before they can enter your office.
- Provide details on how to use your new virtual waiting room. Let patients know that they should wait in their car until they receive a text from your office letting them know that it’s time to come inside.
- Provide a link to your online patient forms so they can complete this paperwork before arrival.
- To boost patient confidence, also share your updated cleaning regimens and any additional safety protocols your practice has implemented. You may also want to encourage or require patients to wear masks based on the guidelines in your state.
Sending all of this information ahead of time ensures your patients are informed and prepared for their appointments!
A virtual waiting room can help you tend to your patients while still prioritizing the safety of your patients and staff. If you need any help implementing your new system—or making any other adjustments in a post-COVID landscape—reach out to ProSites!