Achieving Practice Goals During Challenging Times
Like many of you, my practice was blindsided by COVID-19. Plans we had for the year were paused as we were forced to shelter in place and shut down the practice to non-essential care. Despite the uncertain future, we knew we had to find a way to stay focused on our practice goals and work towards them in some capacity. Online education offered us a way to adapt to the crisis with new offerings and to advance professionally with extended skillsets.
Telemedicine quickly became a buzzword of COVID-19, and like many of you, our experience with the platform was limited. Knowing we had to quickly get up to speed in order to serve our patients and keep our practice sustainable, we accessed the training resources from Premier Academy360™. These resources provided a springboard for our practice, and soon we were seeing and treating patients via telemedicine. One early example was a young woman whose parents were hesitant to bring her into the office due to the pandemic. Through telemedicine, we were able to examine her red eye, diagnose a corneal ulcer, and treat her—without requiring her to come in. We have been so pleased with the effectiveness of this additional access point for care, as well as patients’ response to it, that we will continue offering telemedicine even after the pandemic is over.
The financial impact of COVID-19 created a whole new list of learning opportunities. Reduced cash flow and the uncertainty of the situation led us to evaluate options available to help sustain the practice through the crisis and beyond. To make sense of the different disaster packages being offered, we again turned to training resources from Premier Academy360, as well as from other industry associations, to get up to speed on the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) so we could maximize the financial resources available to our employees and our practice.
Lastly, while the impact of the pandemic on our practices has been significant, the resulting downtime has enabled me and my staff to catch up on continuing education (CE) and advance our skills and knowledge—all important practice goals. We participated in a number of industry webinars and CE courses, including the Premier Academy360-sponsored course, “Building Blocks for a Great Optometric Diabetes Practice,” which offers live COPE-approved CE credits at no cost. Like many of you, I’m typically so busy that fitting in continuing education can be a challenge. A silver lining of the pandemic is having the time to learn valuable new skills and knowledge that will benefit our patients.
As I see it, these times are definitely challenging for an optometric practice. It’s important, as we navigate these unknowns, to look for opportunities to educate ourselves and our staff. The knowledge and skills we obtain will help us adapt to our new environment and become even more equipped to care for our patients into the future.