In some states, medical aesthetic practices and medical spas are still closed, yet in others we are beginning to reopen under new circumstances.
No matter which category you fall in, I hope that you have used this downtime wisely to evaluate the health of your practice, to review your finances and make informed decisions. Working “on” your business not just “in” your business is a vital part of your success, but oftentimes that doesn’t happen. Sadly, due to COVID-19, we have all been affected in many ways and forced to make significant changes. Now more than ever, it is important to perform a practice assessment, to define and understand what KPIs are important to measure, and to do a SWOT analysis. Taking the time to do these things will help you identify what is working and what isn’t, so you can make the necessary changes to achieve positive outcomes.
As you get ready to open your doors and get back to business doing what you love, I have put together a REOPEN checklist for you.
Responsibility. It is your responsibility to establish guidelines and protocols, as well as adhere to overall compliance to ensure the health and safety of your staff, patients and vendors. That means screening everyone upon entering your facility. Both you and your team must share in the responsibility to ask the right questions before scheduling an appointment or allowing anyone to enter, such as:
• Fever (either current or within the past 24 hours), cough, respiratory problems, shortness of breath, etc.
• Exposure to COVID-19 or any contagious condition within the incubation period that the Center for Disease Control recommends
• Diarrhea or vomiting
• Any contagious condition (flu, pink eye, strep)
• Recent domestic or international travel on a plane or cruise ship to an area with an outbreak without completing an isolation and quarantine period
• Hospitalization within past 14 days
The motto “We are in this together” holds true for your practice, and everyone on the team must be solution focused.
Employees. When employees get ready to return to work, there are some factors to consider:
• Which employees are essential and which ones can continue their responsibilities remotely from home?
• Evaluate (based on knowing your numbers) who will return full-time or part-time, or who may not be returning to work at all.
• Are you going to require COVID-19 testing before employees return to work, or require temperature screenings each day? Determine guidelines for returning to work if they are experiencing symptoms or happen to fall ill.
• Establish your protocols for sanitation requirements and make sure you are providing PPE equipment for all staff, including masks, sanitizer, gloves, etc.
• Make sure all workspaces have 6 feet of social distance from other staff members or patients and determine how many people are allowed in a room at any given time.
• What are the clothing requirements? Can they wear normal work clothes inside, or are they required to change into scrubs upon arrival that have been sanitized?
• What are your new hours going to be? How many appointments will you be taking a day? Will your hours be limited or expanded to accommodate fewer patients per hour? Will you stagger your staff to minimize exposure?
Office. A thorough, deep sanitizing cleaning should be performed before reopening. Once opened, rooms should be thoroughly cleaned between patients, and your staff should clean and sanitize all surfaces routinely throughout the day following OSHA and CDC guidelines.
• Make sure to have ample supplies of sanitizing germicidal wipes for surfaces, as well as hand sanitizer by all entry ways, check out or common areas, and in the waiting room.
• Clean all doorknobs, pens, clipboards, bathrooms, furniture, counters, credit card machines, product displays and any common areas with wipes.
• Have your staff keep their own areas clean and sanitized.
• If you offer VIP Curbside Service for product sales, make sure your team is wearing a mask and gloves when delivering products or receiving deliveries/packages.
Patient Protocols and Communication. Being transparent and educating your patients on new safety protocols and procedures you have in place when you reopen is key, as well as preparing them for what their experience will be like. They need assurance that their safety is your number one priority, so they feel calm and confident about having procedures done or receiving aesthetic services from your team. Fill them in on:
• Protocols on waiting before appointments. Will they be waiting in their cars until you text them that their provider is ready? Or, will they be in your waiting room sitting at least six feet apart?
• Will you be requiring them to wear masks or PPE? If so, will you be providing them for your patients?
• Establish processes (if you have not already done so) to have paperwork filled out digitally beforehand – limiting the amount of face-to-face interactions and appointments. If you can do a telehealth consultation, that is ideal.
• Communicate your new safety precautions, new hours, limited services, limited interaction and social distancing procedures via email, phone calls, newsletter and social media.
• Make sure to let them know you will be pre-screening them for COVID-19 symptoms, including temperature checks if applicable.
Employee Communication. Now more than ever before, communication with your team is vital. Here are a few topics to discuss with your employees in your daily or weekly team meetings (if you are not communicating regularly with your team, I’d highly recommend you start immediately – as in TODAY):
• Give clear guidelines on whether or not they will be returning to work or continuing to work from home and what their new schedule will be.
• Make sure to communicate your safety protocols and expectations of them.
• Providing training whether it be virtual or in person before the office reopens for appointments on how to sanitize and handle all cleaning procedures.
• Be empathetic to return to work challenges such as childcare or caring for a loved one with COVID-19 and be solution focused.
• If you had to let go of some of your staff and need to re-hire, make sure you have a protocol in place. Will you re-hire your old team first before you look elsewhere? What if they are no longer interested or available? Do you have a plan in place for staffing up?
• Communicate whether or not they must be tested for COVID-19 before returning to work.
• Inform them they must adhere to wearing PPE and maintain social distance from other staff and patients.
• Explain any recent travel requirements with self-isolation and quarantine before they return to work.
New Normal. Adapting to the “new normal” is going to take some time. As life and businesses slowly inch back to normal, know that our team at Terri Ross Consulting is here to support you. I invite you to schedule a reopen strategy call with me here.
To health and future success!
About the author
Terri's experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20 million in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become an internationally renowned practice management consultant, helping aesthetic practices thrive. Terri’s professional associations span across a variety of therapeutic specialties such as plastic surgery, dermatology, oncology, endocrinology, and cardiology–giving her a global perspective in medicine and a deep understanding of the business structure needed to position practices for success. She has achieved multiple awards and is a recognized leader in the aesthetics field.