Social distancing will continue to be the norm for a while. As time progresses, it's easier for people to let their guard down. Unfortunately, this can easily leave others feeling uncomfortable in public spaces. In order to do your part as a healthcare facility, consider a few of the innovative tools you can use in order to help patients remain socially distant.

1. Apps

When you join a gym or any business that involves a membership check-in, the facility typically provides an identification card with a bar code that allows people to sign in at their leisure. Because of the pandemic, many businesses have transitioned to using apps in order to avoid unnecessary exchanges of physical materials. Whether you need a patient to fill out paperwork, they can print the paperwork at home, fill it out, and scan it into the app. 

If they need to make a payment, they can arrange for it to happen through the app. As your office personnel will come into contact with many people throughout any given workday, an app is a great protocol to put in place for their protection as well. If the staff is asymptomatic, they can still pass along the virus to every single patient. To limit human interaction with app development is one of the most innovative ways to push the company towards social distancing.

2. Text Messages

If you'd like to get in touch with all of your patients for any reason, a text message is one of the quickest ways to get the word out. By using mass texting for healthcare organizations to manage all of your outgoing messages to patients, you can also include links to updated protocols and other measures your practice is taking in order to keep everyone safe.

3. Enclosed Waiting Locations

The waiting room of any doctor's office can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria. This is especially true when people are coming in with colds, cases of flu, and other ailments. In most states, there's a limit on how many people can sit in a room at any given time. Consider creating plastic barriers that will keep your guests protected and at leastsix feet apart from each other. If you don't already have a glass or plastic barrier between the front desk personnel and the patients, it's a wise idea to install one as well. In addition to installing the plastic guards, know that they will still require consistent sanitization. After each use, make sure an employee goes through and sanitizes each station with a cleaning solution that's strong enough to kill viral bacteria.

4. Virtual Appointments

Teleconferencing sessions were gradually becoming the norm within the healthcare industry in order to accommodate more patients within a day's time. However, if your facility doesn't currently utilize this feature, it's helpful to do routine check-ups this way. It's possible to see a bunch of patients through the use of a smartphone or a laptop with an attached camera feature. If the doctor and the patient simply need to review progress from recent surgery, they can do updates through the video feature. If anything requires more serious attention, the patient can come in-person. However, virtual appointments during a pandemic are definitely the most ideal way to go in order to encourage as much social distancing as possible.

5. Virtual Sign-Ins

If a patient doesn't feel comfortable with waiting in a waiting room, it's a great idea to provide a virtual sign-in option. With this feature, a patient can sign in from their vehicle. When it's their turn, send a text message to notify them. In order for this feature to work, patients must have a smartphone or device that allows for text messaging services. It's also important to have a strong signal. The last task any member of the office personnel needs is to go searching through the parking lot for a patient whose phone is in silent mode. If patients are going to use this feature, make sure they're well aware of the steps they need to take in order to remain as efficient as possible.

As the world continues to adjust to the reality of the pandemic and what it means to function, your practice can lead the way in maintaining protocols that keep patients safe and comfortable. As the innovative tools continue to progress, adopt them quickly in order to remain on the cutting edge.

Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.