View the May 2020 outreach package by Doctors of BC with many tips and resources here.
Support for physician outreach on virtual care (posted April 7, 2020)
Below are some DoBC outreach tools for physicians to help ensure patients are aware that doctor offices are open for business during COVID-19, and to let patients know that if they need care, they should call their doctor first:
Send a letter to patients via e-mail
One of the simplest and most efficient ways to communicate with your patients to let them know you are open for business is by sending them an e-mail. Some may feel like that is an “old-fashioned” thing to do. But an e-mail coming from a family doctor or a specialist who knows them well (who does not ordinarily take the step of e-mailing patients) will stand out.
If you don’t have a current list of e-mail addresses for your patients, you may wish to contact patients via phone—either personally, or you can have your staff check in with them and get their e-mail addresses. You can use this as an opportunity to check in on your patients who have chronic conditions, make sure your vulnerable patients have the support they need, or have conversations about topics like advance care planning. Remember that when you reach out in this way, these virtual care visits are billable to MSP. For information on virtual care billing, visit https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/news/covid-19-temporary-billing-changes.
Doctors of BC has developed the following letter template to get you started on an e-mail to send to patients.
To my patients,
I am writing to let you know that I have made changes to the way I see patients in order to keep us all safe from transmission of COVID-19.
Like many doctors around the province, I have transitioned to a virtual care practice—this means I am able to connect with you using telephone and video conference (telemedicine). Virtual care enables doctors to assess and treat patients and (if necessary) prescribe medication in the vast majority of cases based on our visit over the phone or by video. If you do need an in-person visit, we can arrange that too in a way that will be safe.
It is important during this challenging time that we continue to address your medical issues, especially if you have ongoing health conditions.
Booking an appointment is easy, and my staff will walk you through this process every step of the way.
For more information on what virtual care means for patients, check out this patient Q and A.
You can book an appointment by [insert instructions]
Script for MOAs to use when reaching out to patients
Hi, this is [insert name] from Dr [insert name]’s office.
How are you doing today? Is now a good time to talk for a few minutes? This isn’t an urgent call, everything is okay.
I’m calling to let you know that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the doctor is doing visits by telephone and video conference.
This allows him/her to treat patients while keeping you and the doctor safe.
How are you feeling? Do you feel you need an appointment at this time?
If you do need an appointment, contact us at [insert phone number] and I will walk you through the steps to connect by telephone/video.
I also want to ask if you would be comfortable sharing your e-mail with us for our files? This way we can reach out to you by e-mail with future updates on how the doctor can provide you with care in these challenging times.
Thank you and take care.
Post the virtual care poster on your clinic door or on your website
Doctors of BC has produced an editable/printable poster (MS Word) for clinics to notify patients that they are providing some of their care and visits virtually, either over the phone or through video. This poster is available in eight languages. There is room for the clinic to fill out their email, phone number, and clinic name. If you are still seeing patients in your clinic, this can be posted on the clinic entrance and/or in the waiting area; it can also be added to clinic websites.
Take to social media
Social media is one of the most effective ways to connect with people. You can share simple messages on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels. You can also retweet and share posts from our @DoctorsofBC accounts.
When posting to social media, you may want to use the visual we have created (below). This allows for the repetition of visual messaging that we talked about earlier. If not, that’s okay too.
Either way it’s a good idea to use the hashtags we created: #VirtualCARE and #BCdocs
Suggested social media captions/tweets for divisions or other physician groups:
- Patients: Your local doctors can now see you via #VirtualCARE as we all #stay_home to stop the spread of COVID-19. Call my office to make an appointment
- If you’re ill or need care for ongoing conditions, your local doctor can often treat you via phone and video without having to see you in person. Call your doctor’s office to make an appointment
- Doctors are now seeing patients via #VirtualCARE. Many conditions can be treated over the phone or via video. Call your doctor’s office from the safety of your home to set up an appointment
- As we #stay_home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, doctors are now using #VirtualCARE to see patients. If you’re sick or need care, call to make an appointment
Graphics: These visuals are available to use in your social media posts
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