COVID-19 has changed how all businesses operate, and none are affected more than healthcare. As ASCs receive approval to reopen, how has the virus changed your culture of safety?
Understanding the new normal
Although all ASCs already have robust infection prevention measures in place, the current pandemic has changed our protocol. Some aspects of safety are visibly evident to employees and patients. Improving your culture of safety will require you to make some COVID-specific adjustments:
- Does your waiting room allow patients to stay 6 feet apart?
- Have you communicated with all patients about mask requirements?
- How and where are you going to enforce patient handwashing?
- What can you do to limit unnecessary contact between patients and employees, particularly with schedulers and nurses? Consider how you might use online preadmissions processes to limit contact at the appointment.
- Do you have adequate staffing to take every patient’s temperature before their appointment?
- Are all employees up-to-date on cleaning and disinfecting protocols?
These are just a few of the ways that the novel corona virus will impact your ASC’s operations. Once you have your new processes in place, employees and patients will need to understand the new normal.
Communicating the new normal
A significant factor in having a strong culture of safety is employee perception. Do your employees believe that you are doing everything you can to keep both them and your patients safe? Consider how you will communicate the post-COVID-19 changes with your staff, whether through a group meeting, a Zoom call, or another online communication platform.
Make sure employees know they can submit their feedback as we all adjust to the new normal. Improving safety requires that everyone feels empowered to report any concerns. As you reopen post-COVID-19, this is a good time to reiterate this thought to all employees.
Do your ASC patients know your expectations?
Patients will also need to know about the new normal in your facility. In fact, patients want to see what you are doing to respond to the pandemic. Consider using a digital communication software to easily communicate with patients regarding the changes. When patients can see that you’re willing to pivot and make the necessary adjustments, the result is increased trust and patient engagement.
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