Just like many businesses across the country, orthopedic, spine, and neuro practices are being affected by the rapid changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While these changes are necessary to stop the spread of the virus, they have drastically changed the way that practices can operate for the time being, and most elective procedures have been halted.
However, even if your practice is unable to perform elective procedures, your patients’ health problems continue to exist. They are likely still in pain, and may be wondering what care options they have in the interim. In other cases, your practice may be open to take care of these patients, but patients may be concerned about coming to your office for fear of catching the virus or passing it along to others.
This is why it is important to communicate with your patients and keep them updated on what’s happening. Your website is a great place to keep your patients up to date and share any new information you have. Depending on your practice’s situation, there are a few different ways you can share your message.
Below are some examples of how our clients are keeping their patients informed on the latest developments via their websites. You can use these examples to inspire your own practice’s messaging.
Practice is remaining open, but with precautions in place
Some of our clients have opted to maintain their normal hours, but wanted to let their patients know that they had precautions in place to help protect patients.
One client created a new page to inform patients about new office procedures amid COVID-19, asking patients over the age of 65, those who had cold or flu symptoms, and those who had been exposed to the virus to cancel or reschedule their appointments.
They then replaced their callout buttons at the top of the page with a button that says “COVID-19 Information” to draw more attention to the information and make it easily-accessible from every page on the website.
Other clients have put together a detailed FAQ and information pages for their patients and used a similar strategy of placing a callout to the page in the header of their website. This example can be found at https://www.jamesballardmd.com/news-events/coronavirus-news and https://www.chortho.com/coronavirus.
Another option is to simply place a message directly at the top of your homepage, like this practice did:
Practice is offering telehealth visits
Some of our clients have implemented telehealth services to offer virtual consultations to patients who need treatment, but wish to stay at home. While there are limitations to how much telemedicine can help in orthopedic, neuro, and spine cases, a virtual consultation gives patients a chance to speak with their doctor and get advice on what they can do about their condition until they can get to the office.
One client added a message to their homepage to let patients know about telemedicine services and how to schedule a remote consultation:
Another practice added a page on telehealth options, including links to directly schedule a virtual appointment with their doctors. You can find an example of this at https://www.chortho.com/telehealth.
Like the COVID-19 information, they also added a callout to the telehealth option in the header of their website to draw attention to it.
Directing patients to social media for real-time updates
If your practice feels that things may be changing on a daily basis, and you won’t have time to constantly make updates to your website, you might want to direct patients to your social media channels for more timely updates.
This client added a message on their homepage directing their patients to Facebook to keep up with the latest news:
Notifying patients of office closures
Unfortunately, some practices have had to completely close down as COVID-19 restrictions have increased. With elective procedures being halted and people being restricted to leaving the house only for necessities, some practices simply do not have patients to take care of and have decided to temporarily close.
Many of our clients have been fortunate enough to either stay open or implement alternative solutions like telemedicine, so we do not have a specific example to provide for this scenario. However, if you are planning on closing your practice temporarily, we recommend placing a message at the top of your homepage, like the examples shown above from https://www.neoe.net/, https://www.westrichmd.com/, https://www.mittalmd.com/.
In your message, you should note when your practice plans to reopen (if you have a reopen date set), how patients can contact you if they have an emergency that you would normally treat (or where they can seek alternative care), and where they can look for updates (whether checking back on your website, or following your social media page).
If your practice is managing your business listing on Google, you can also temporarily set your practice as closed so that patients are aware of the closure when searching for you, as well.
Communication is Key
As you can see, there are several different ways to get your message out to patients, regardless of the situation you are facing. We hope these examples will make it a little easier for you to figure out next steps on how to communicate changes to your patients as you navigate these uncertain times.
Here at P3, we have navigated remote work with clients for many years. As a result, we are able to continue to provide online marketing services and advice to practices across the country while our employees stay safe and practice social distancing at home. If you need any advice on how to navigate your online marketing in light of COVID-19, please reach out. We are happy to help!