After looking at the initial protocols she developed, Dr. Seay realized they weren’t detailed enough. The protocols had to be more than bullet point lists; she wanted to equip her team members with as much information as possible. So, she added explanations as to why the changes were being made and information about new tools she’s implementing, such as foggers.
“You have to educate team members by not just telling them what you’re doing but by also explaining why and how it works,” Dr Seay said. “You want them to feel safe and to realize you’ve implemented every measure possible so that they are safe. They need to know it’s not just about the patient. It’s about them too.”
She also brought the team in for a day and a half of training before reopening to get them comfortable with the new protocols.
Dr. Imm met with his team via Zoom twice a week during the closure, which was key to keeping them engaged and prepared. Like Dr. Seay, he brought his team members in for a few days of training before reopening, which included role playing all the various scenarios that might come up. This helped them understand everybody’s new role and see what new challenges they might face once patients were back in the office.
“If your team members are comfortable, they’ll make your guests comfortable,” Dr. Imm said. “Role playing allows you to think everything through in a non-threatening situation. It was pretty seamless for us by the time we were done.”
Team members also use checklists, kept at each station, to ensure they’re not missing any steps, Dr. Imm said. The checklists help everyone (including him) stay focused and on target as they get used to the new routine.
Then there’s the schedule. Both Drs. Imm and Seay are taking a slower pace, at least for now—and they advise other doctors to do the same. Don’t be afraid to keep a lighter schedule while you adjust to a different routine.
“Remember, you’re coming back to a new normal so it’s OK to go slow,” Dr. Seay said. “If your schedule isn’t full, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. It’s not necessarily a bad thing.”