Katie G. trains health services specialists (HSSs) in many of our health centers, and she’s seen close up how our staff has delivered care during the pandemic when they are only connected to patients through a phone line.
“One of the most important things we’ve learned during COVID is how to make sure the warmth and care come through over the phone, when the patient on the other end can’t see you,” Katie said. “We have been able to make patients ‘hear the smile.’ “
Because so many people have been unable or afraid to leave their houses for care, our staff is quick to reassure patients during phone appointments.
“A lot of people have put off routine health care during the pandemic,” Katie said. “An HSS will often say to a patient, whether in person or on the phone, ‘I hope you’re proud of yourself for taking care of your health during this really difficult time.’
“It’s another way of showing them that they’re getting more than quality medical care. They’re also getting emotional support and a listening ear about what’s going on with them.”
She added that this approach has gone a long way toward prompting many patients to make appointments for other health care services they may have put off over the past 18 months.