Data suggests that COVID-19 cases may peak in the U.S. more than once. In many U.S. states, the first wave of the virus has passed. In others, cases are still increasing. Wherever you find yourself in the country, it’s important to prepare your medical office for the second wave of COVID-19.
When to expect a second wave of COVID-19
There’s no official definition of when a virus “wave” begins or ends. But generally what experts watch for is a substantial reduction in infections. If the rate of new cases stabilizes or drops significantly before spiking again, that would be a second wave.
This has not yet happened in the U.S., despite a clear uptick in cases since mid-June 2020. At the time of writing, U.S. states are still at various stages ranging from solidly in to just beyond the first wave of COVID-19.
It’s hard to predict if and when the U.S. might expect a second wave of COVID-19. Experts often refer to the 1918 influenza pandemic for comparison. The first wave of that infection was in July, with a second wave occurring in October-November, and a third wave in March the following year. But of course, COVID-19 is a very different disease on a planet that is also much more populated than a century ago.
It’s likely the U.S. will see a spike in cases this fall as schools reopen and people go back to work. However, whether that would be considered a second wave depends on the extent to which the virus has been contained (which will also vary by state). As Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins, summarized, “There is a possibility that we will see a resurgence in the fall. But there’s a lot of open questions because we’ve never seen this virus before.”
How to prepare your medical office for the second wave
Whether or not the U.S. sees a spike in cases this fall, and whether or not that spike is a second wave, now is the time to prepare your medical office.
Depending on your practice, preparing your medical office for the next wave of COVID-19 could involve a variety of measures. The following articles will help you think about which steps will make the biggest difference for your practice.
1. Improve your telehealth workflow
Remote care is playing an important role in the response to COVID-19. But for many provides telehealth is a new technology, which requires new workflows.
Save time and frustration by carefully planning out each stage of your virtual visits. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself as you improve your telehealth workflow:
- What information do you need to gather from the patient to start the visit?
- When do you want to offer remote visits?
- Where will you (as the provider) be during the visit?
- Who will schedule visits and send patient reminders?
- How will you bill patients?
Developing any efficient workflow is a process. Make the time now to actively design a telehealth workflow that you can build on going forward.
Read the full article here: How to improve your telehealth workflow
If telehealth improvements feel like a useful way for you to prepare your medical office, the following articles may help:
- Telehealth during COVID-19: how to choose a platform
- Telehealth billing during COVID-19
- Make telehealth easier with Mobius Clinic
- How to measure outcomes for telehealth
2. Adopt time-saving tools
Many medical offices are operating with reduced staff as they respond to COVID-19. At no other time have digital tools for efficient practice management been so valuable.
Mobius Clinic is a mobile app that helps physicians manage all aspects of their medical practice on the go. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mobius offers valuable capabilities. Consider using an app that will allow you to:
- View and edit patient charts from your mobile device
- Schedule appointments from your smartphone with just a few taps
- Securely call patients on your personal cellphone
- Collect digital signature for all of your forms
Read the full article here: Best tools for medical offices with reduced staff
3. Optimize your medical office Wi-Fi
If you’re practicing telehealth, the Internet is one of your most valuable medical tools. Now more than ever, doctor’s offices need a fast, reliable connection.
While most physicians are already constantly online, telehealth means you’re relying on effective internet to do your most important job: see patients. Prepare your medical office for the next wave of COVID-19 by optimizing your Wi-Fi to ensure better security, capacity, and coverage.
Read the full article here to learn how: How to optimize your medical office Wi-Fi
If you’re not sure whether Wi-Fi is a weak point for your office, consider the following articles:
Now is the time to prepare
Now is the best time to prepare your medical office for the second wave of COVID-19. This is especially true if you’re lucky enough to be in a state with a declining number of new cases.
Take the steps now to ensure that your office is prepared to handle a resurgence of the virus when it comes.