It’s been nearly a year since COVID-19 emerged as a global health threat. In that time, the world has been turned on its head in many ways: social gatherings have become fewer and far between, indoor activities are largely off the table, and wearing a mask outside of your home is absolutely essential. The novel coronavirus has changed nearly every facet of daily life, from the way we socialize to the way we work and more. And few industries have been more impacted than healthcare, where prioritizing employee and patient safety during COVID-19 has led to a dramatic change in the way we operate.
Although awareness of COVID-19 best practices for healthcare facilities has increased substantially since the early days of the crisis, providers are still faced with numerous operational challenges. Providing the care that your community needs while keeping patients and employees safe is a delicate balance, and it’s not always clear how to do so.
At Quality Reviews®, we deeply understand the challenges healthcare organizations are facing today. Our expertise in healthcare spans well beyond software, as many members of our staff have years of clinical experience. Fortunately, we’ve been able to draw upon that firsthand experience to build software solutions that help healthcare providers during this challenging period.
Our products offer a number of different features that make them a great asset for providers navigating this new world. Here are a few ways you can use our solutions to save time and stay safe.
Share COVID-19 Guidelines & Protocols
As we’ve learned more and more about the virus and how it spreads in the last year, a new set of COVID-19 best practices for healthcare facilities have emerged. In order to reduce the risk of exposure and mitigate transmission, providers are taking steps like requiring patients to wear masks in the office, screening patients for symptoms before entering the facility, and confirm in writing that they have not, to their knowledge, been in direct contact with anyone who tested COVID-positive in the weeks leading up to their visit. Many healthcare organizations rely on their administrative staff to reach out to patients via email or phone to share this information. Unfortunately, that creates an additional task for employees that are likely already spread thin. What’s more, this information may get buried in a patient’s inbox or voicemail so that they don’t end up seeing it at all.
Our patient flow management and notification system, Q-Notify, automates the process of notifying patients about COVID-19 guidelines and protocols by sending the information in the form of an SMS text message. You can detail these policies in the body of the text message, with a link to a dedicated COVID-19 information page on your site, or through a hotline number that patients can call. Given that 90% of people read text messages within 90 seconds of their receipt, you can feel confident that you’ve grabbed their attention. This also frees up your staff to spend less time on tedious manual notifications and more time on what really matters.
Pre-Screen Patients for Symptoms
Since COVID-19 testing is not always widely accessible or affordable, it’s not terribly uncommon for people to contract the virus without realizing it. Reaching out to patients to confirm they haven’t experienced some of the most common symptoms is another step you can take to reduce risk of exposure at your facility. Our survey tool, Q-Reviews®, allows providers to screen patients for symptoms without taking up their staff’s time. Q-Reviews® sends a text message with a HIPAA-secure link to a customizable survey, which can be tailored to serve as a COVID-19 symptom screener.
For example, you might add a question like “Are you or a close contact experiencing new (or worsening) fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat?” Patients would then be prompted to respond with “Yes” or “No.” If a patient does answer “Yes,” their response will be flagged in the Q-Reviews® dashboard to highlight an urgent need for follow-up from one of your staff members. This way, you can prevent those with active COVID-19 symptoms from entering the facility and putting other employees’ and patients’ health at risk.
Create Remote Waiting Rooms
At this point, we know that grouping multiple people indoors in close proximity of one another is a recipe for COVID-19 transmission. This poses a special problem when it comes to waiting rooms — patients must be notified when their provider is ready to see them, but seating them among all of the other patients awaiting treatment can create a breeding ground for communicable disease. Q-Notify resolves this challenge by creating a “remote waiting room.”
After checking in, Q-Notify sends patients a text message letting them know that they’ve been added to a remote queue. This allows them to wait safely offsite in their car or another nearby location while they wait for their appointment to begin. Once their provider is ready to see them, Q-Notify sends another text message to alert patients so they don’t enter the facility any sooner than they have to.
Q-Notify offers a similar service for family members and caregivers of patients undergoing a day procedure. Once a patient has checked in for their procedure, Q-Notify will send designated caregivers text message updates on the patient’s status from pre-op to discharge. In line with COVID-19 best practices for healthcare facilities, this decreases the number of visitors indoors, whether sitting at a patient’s bedside or in a reception area awaiting updates. This makes Q-Notify a particularly useful solution for emergency departments and ambulatory surgery centers.
Our Commitment to You
At this critical time, we want you to know that we’re here for you, your employees, and your patients. If you’d like to make use of any of the services mentioned above, or learn more about how you can leverage the Q-Reviews® platform to maintain patient safety during COVID-19, please reach out to us. We know that patient communication is more important now than ever, and we want to help you in any way that we can. Feel free to contact me ([email protected]) or [email protected] with any questions.
In good health,
Edward Shin, MD
CEO, Quality Reviews®, Inc.