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COVID-19 & MEDICAL PRACTICES

Updating protocols for rep engagement and communication

By Jeremy Gilman bio

We have heard from many practices how difficult it is to stay on top of the ever-evolving guidelines and best practices for how to provide excellent patient care in a pandemic. Here are some patterns we’ve seen emerge within our community of thousands of medical practices:

1. Vendor/rep-specific protocols: As your practice continues to monitor the risk of COVID-19 exposure, you will need to create protocols and policies specific to your life science experts. These protocols may differ from how you are managing patients and should be flexible to change as you adapt to the ever-evolving situation. Linked to this article is a sample vendor/rep protocol implemented by a large healthcare system. Some questions to consider as you build a policy specific to your practice include:

  • Are there any reps allowed in your practice? k If so, what safety protocols or social distancing measures must reps acknowledge and adhere to?
  • What is the protocol (who and how) for requesting/approving reps to enter your office during this time?
  • Do you have a plan in place to maintain communication with reps if visits are banned?
  • If you are still accepting lunches, are there local restaurants that have pre-packaged options?
  • How can educational materials be distributed if visits are restricted?

Schedule changes can be implemented quickly through free technologies such as RxVantage. These types of automated tools send notifications to reps when appointments are canceled, and prevent new meetings from being scheduled outside of the office’s unique policy. The platform also allows practices to publicize their policy so reps can access the most up-to-date information without calling in and tying up phone lines. Practice managers and administrators that are able to leverage these tools can have confidence that the system is taking care of previously manual tasks, and allows them to focus their time and attention on other, more urgent, tasks.

2. Increased communication with life science reps: During the COVID outbreak, many medical offices have dramatically increased communication with their local reps. Through RxVantage’s online messaging platform, practices are efficiently providing real-time updates about evolving policies and protocols through group or individual messages. This feature allowing practices to quickly and efficiently find and message the right reps as needed, has become an essential communication tool, overnight. Knowing that all reps receive their updates gives these practices further confidence that reps know how to act in their practice or not come in at all.

3. Scheduling sample drops: Practices that rely on reps for samples are developing new protocols to ensure their supply isn’t disrupted. They are designating very specific times and appointments for sample drops and new locations where they will be signed for, depending on their physical office space. For example, some practices will designate 30-minute time slots twice a week, with instructions to use a side door or even stay in their vehicles. Ensure any sanitation or sterilization procedures are clear and followed, and consider designating a single staff member to collect the samples.

4. Remote meetings: Telemedicine is seeing a boom in the field, and many practices are also setting up phone or web meetings with nurse educators, reimbursement specialists, MSLs, etc. Many platforms are available to coordinate remote meetings, and Google & Microsoft are among companies providing free premium-level accounts during the pandemic to help people stay connected.

5. Universal COVID protocols: Some large medical groups and systems are rolling out these new protocols across all of their practice locations to ensure consistency of communication and enforcement of their policies.

 


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