COVID-19 Recovery: Patient engagement best practices and sample scripts

Member Tool - June 24, 2020

Marketing/Social Media

Patient Engagement

Policies & Procedures

MGMA Staff Members
As medical practices adapt during their COVID-19 recovery, bringing patients back is a crucial aspect of restoring visit volumes and revenue for the months ahead.
 
Many patients still report some hesitance about returning to social gatherings, concerts, conferences and other events due to concerns about coronavirus exposure. For other patients, unemployment and cost considerations have prompted them to avoid a trip to their doctor.
 
Regardless of the reason, medical practice leaders need to prepare communication strategies that re-engage patients to seek needed care.

Communicate new processes to patients

The goal should be to advise patients of changes made to accommodate new processes related to the COVID-19 crisis.
 
Key points to assure patients during this difficult time:
  • Advise new and established patients of benefits to setting up an appointment.
    • For established patients without an appointment, call them using pre-determined scripting or request they schedule online. 
  • Make sure patients know you have a suitable visit options (virtually, in-person, by phone, etc.)
  • Work with patients to determine what type of visit is best based on their concerns while taking into consideration potential limitations of the provider.
  • Offer something tangible to patients as reference, such as a brochure via direct mail or printable form on your website explaining telehealth, as well as links to this information via your practice’s social media channels and/or website.
  • Keep verbiage simple and do not use medical jargon.
  • Provide an outlet for patients to ask questions. Provide a phone number or email address to engage patients on their concerns to build confidence.
  • Offer step-by-step instructions on how to set up telehealth visits. When possible, include visual/video aids about the steps and types of equipment needed, such as electronic device or webcam.
  • Do not use words such as “telehealth” or “telemedicine.” Use lay terms such as “online” or “virtual visit.” Consider branding your telehealth care options with a memorable phrase (e.g., “XYZ Care Anywhere”).
  • Assure patients that their health and safety is your top priority. 
    • Explain all safety measures your clinic has established in phone calls with patients to encourage patients to see provider or stay home when necessary. Have information on your website, patient portal and/or social media channels that reflects this messaging.
  • Advise patients on the importance of PPE and what your clinic requires. Explain if patients bring their own or if clinic provides.
  • Reiterate the importance of patient privacy.

Sample scripts for various visit types

Face-to-face visits

  • When would you like to be seen?
  • I’d like to encourage you to come in to see your physician and catch up on preventive care.
  • I’d like to have you come in to see Dr. ___ who can address concerns you may have and take care of them as soon as possible.
  • It’s been a while since we’ve seen you. Let’s get you on track and schedule an appointment.
  • Given your (insert chronic illness), we would like to have you come in to see Dr. ___.
  • Your concern regarding coronavirus is legitimate and we take the utmost precautions. Dr. ____ would like to see you to provide optimal care.

Telehealth/remote monitoring visits

  • I know this is a difficult time; Dr. ___ is ready to see you when you are comfortable coming in. In the meantime, we offer other options such as online or virtual appointments.
  • Hello (patient). My name is (name of staff member). I’d like to ask you a few questions to set up virtual visits. We will still see each other face-to-face, but we need to ensure the setup is appropriate.
  • I understand you’d like to see Dr. ___ in person, but given your high-risk condition, we’d like to set up an online/virtual visit.
  • We are currently considered a high-risk area and would like to see you virtually at this time to reduce exposure to coronavirus.
  • (Clinic name) would like to minimize contact with those who are sick and would like to set an online/virtual visit with Dr. ___.
  • We have the capability of monitoring your condition with virtual access to your device. Let’s set it up so we can track how you’re doing.

Testing visits

  • I understand you have coronavirus symptoms (cough, fever, difficulty breathing, etc.). We can get you in to our testing site (day, time). A nurse will (explain procedure on how sample will be taken).
  • Do you have a fever of 100.4 or greater?
  • Have you travelled to a high-risk area such as (insert state, country, city) since (insert date)?
  • Have you been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus?

Additional considerations

  • Be transparent and explain how protocols have changed.
  • Empathize with patients and help them understand why the visit type is suitable for their condition.
  • Make no assumptions and have questionnaires available to establish necessary precautions or visit type.
  • Educate all clinical staff to ensure patients understand changes. This will help build rapport with patient/provider relationship and improve healthcare outcomes.
  • Have the practice administrator revisit policies and procedures to safeguard clinic guidelines and compliance.
  • Remember that everyone is dealing with the pandemic and all practice staff and providers should be empathetic with others, especially patients. 


This resource is part of the MGMA COVID-19 Recovery Toolkit for medical practices.

Additional resources

About the Author

MGMA Staff Members
X

Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty

Subtotal:
X

Checkout

Shipping address same as billing

Grand Total:
Save this card for future use
Saved credit card is required for opt-in to autorenew

Questions? Contact the MGMA Service Center for assistance during checkout or review our return policy for more information.
X

Confirmation

,
,

Total:
Payment:
Balance:
 
Back to top
Loading...