Adaptability will win the day in post-COVID era
Innovation is key to thriving in pandemic and beyond
Arthur B Cummings MMed(Ophth), FCS(SA)
“Adaptability, adaptability, adaptability wins the day.” That’s what Arthur B Cummings MMed(Ophth), FCS(SA), FRCS(Edin), Dublin, Ireland, said of the successful reopening of his Dublin, Ireland, cataract and refractive surgery clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was one of four speakers at the “ESCRS Practice Management & Development Webinar. Rebuilding Your Practice in a Challenging Environment,” all of whom remain optimistic about ophthalmology’s prospects in the pandemic and any recession beyond.
Among the adaptive steps that Dr Cummings took was asking his entire staff to help design new clinic procedures to meet new challenges. “Many heads are better than one but it also helps to provide a sense of control to a team in uncertain times and it encourages their adoption of new processes.”
For Guy Sallet MD, Aalst, Belgium, adapting meant focusing on patient experience in every aspect of clinic operations, including expanding space for patients in reception areas and exam rooms, and adopting and communicating extensive new hygiene procedures to help patients stay safe and feel at ease. While surgeons now see fewer patients and require more office space, revenues are increasing due to greater demand for refractive procedures to overcome masks fogging glasses.
Rod Solar of LiveseySolar Healthcare Marketing, London, UK, reported success in increasing online traffic and, more importantly, procedure volume at clinics around the world using a combination of new Web site content and design, search engine optimisation and video blogging, and the use of a “lead magnet,” which is an online self-test that patients can take.
Kris Morrill of Medevise Consulting, Strasbourg, France, also pointed to renewed interest in laser refractive surgery and recovering elective surgery volumes as evidence of a strong future for ophthalmology. She, too, stressed the need to adapt to local conditions to stay ahead of COVID-19’s continuing challenges.