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We all feel it: increased business pressure on top of concerns about your health and the safety of your family, employees and patients. At Brightree, we’ve taken steps to fully support you and help lighten the load of your concerns during the pandemic.

We’ve heard from many HME providers who have shared with us what they’re doing to overcome operational challenges. Here are their suggestions in key areas of business continuity including patient visits and products, referrals and employees.

Patient visits and products

We all have to do our part to avoid the spread of the coronavirus including changing the way we interact with patients. Consider the following:

  • Provide drive-through services for patients to pick up products.
  • Offer “by appointment only” visits to avoid crowded waiting areas.
  • Enable virtual visits to promote no-contact interactions.
  • Post a letter on your storefront door with a phone number and curbside delivery instructions.
  • Develop and ship “starter kit” setups with videoconferencing training.
  • Meet hospital employees at a dock or other outdoor location instead of having your driver enter a hospital.
  • Only do in-home deliveries for beds and oxygen. Leave everything else for porch delivery.
  • Send your patients an email blast asking them to call for supplies rather than come into the office.
  • Conduct respiratory or Home Sleep Testing (HST) upfront before the patient comes to your location.

You can also ask pre-screening questions regarding COVID-19 before having a patient come into your office. For example:

  • Have you or a person in your home tested positive for COVID-19?
  • Do you have any symptoms such as a fever over 100, coughing or shortness of breath?
  • Have you traveled out of the country recently?
  • Do you have underlying health issues?

By asking questions, you can take precautionary measures such as having PPE in place. If a patient requires a CPAP setup and is reporting COVID-19 symptoms, you can push out the visit for 14 days.

Referral

There are also referral challenges that need to be considered in your overall business continuity plan. Closed sleep labs, canceled appointments and no shows put a strain on new setups. If a facility is closed, how do you handle deliveries and get signatures on documents? Try these tips.

  • Use interoperability tools like GoScripts to keep your sales orders and resupply programs moving uninterrupted.
  • Reach out to referrals to strengthen partnerships. Let them know you have ventilator inventory or other specialized equipment on hand if they need it.

Employees

At this point in the pandemic, anywhere from 25 to 75 percent of your employees are most likely working from home. To help your remote team work more efficiently, explore these best practices:

  • Conduct videoconferences for face-to-face setups with therapists.
  • Ensure your employee laptops, desktops, VPNs and cybersecurity have protocols in place.
  • Ask your employees for suggestions on how to stay connected with one another and with patients.

There are, of course, employees who can’t work from home such as delivery drivers and technicians. Ask them to undergo aggressive self-screening programs before entering buildings.

One provider says he’s following a hospital incident command structure. Everyone is trained on a specific role such as communications, operations, education planning, logistics for tracking equipment like ventilators, and resources for determining how many skilled people you need and in what division. The incident command is fluid and can be modified to fit your needs. For instance, in the current climate, you may want someone to act as an infection preventionist in charge of employee safety and education.

What else are you doing to navigate the current climate? Share your ideas with us and you may find them in a future post. In the meantime, look for more tips and updates from Brightree.

What’s working for you?

Visit Brightree Community to share your business continuity best practices with other providers.

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