How to adapt your practice amid the coronavirus crisis

21 Apr, 2020 | News

The coronavirus has created a challenging environment for all dermatology practices. After all, most are suffering through significant patient visit declines, or have shut down altogether. The adage by Sir Winston Churchill, “Never waste a good crisis,” applies to our current situation. But to come out of this crisis stronger, we’ll discuss how to make the most of a bad situation by adding telemedicine, getting prepared to reopen, and performing a strategic review of your practice. Let’s create a checklist you can use to explore all aspects of your dermatology practice.

Todd is the Chief Executive Officer of VitalSkin Dermatology, a world-class dermatology and aesthetics practice management firm., Mr. Petersen has over two decades of C-suite experience, including CEO, COO, CFO, and CHRO roles. He is a growth expert with a passion for new entrepreneurial challenges, revenue growth, improving operations, and building teams and partnerships.

The coronavirus has created a challenging environment for all dermatology practices. After all, most are suffering through significant patient visit declines, or have shut down altogether. The adage by Sir Winston Churchill, “Never waste a good crisis,” applies to our current situation. But to come out of this crisis stronger, we’ll discuss how to make the most of a bad situation by adding telemedicine, getting prepared to reopen, and performing a strategic review of your practice. Let’s create a checklist you can use to explore all aspects of your dermatology practice.

Add Telemedicine to Your Practice

Embrace telemedicine.  Many practices have already made a hard pivot toward telemedicine. Indeed, some have converted as much as 30% of their schedule to telemedicine visits. During this period of social distancing, telemedicine allows a physician to provide care for their patients and still keep the “lights on” in their practice. Since adding telemedicine will help you serve patients now, and to keep revenue flowing to the practice, we suggest this being your first priority.

In mid-March, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services relaxed privacy and payment regulations to encourage telemedicine visits, now reimbursing them at the same level as office visits. Taking a longer-term view, many believe the COVID-19 pandemic will permanently transform the health care delivery system, and telemedicine will become a permanent mode of treatment. Telemedicine can also help you connect with your patients in a way that might make your practice more inviting, allowing them to feel more comfortable with you and your practice in the future—both of which are good for business.

Get Prepared to Reopen Your Practice

Focus on supply chain management. To reopen your practice, you’ll need to procure new supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard you, your staff and your patients. Supply procurement may be the most significant limiting factor that keeps practices from reopening. As you look to secure needed supplies, you may find your old sources are no longer sufficient, and you need to spend time finding new suppliers. You may also find the costs for PPE have dramatically increased. Larger practices have teams dedicated to supply chain management, and are currently solving this constraint. For smaller practices, we suggest getting to work on this issue early by contacting your current supplier, connecting with competing suppliers, and networking with other physicians on the topic. Checking with other physicians may help you to find new sources for PPE, as some practices have found new sources of PPE in China. 

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