As you consider expanding your patient services understand that is it each provider’s responsibility to determine how their practice will operate. PCS has prepared an extensive guide for consideration (below) but understand that not all guidelines apply to every practice.
However, regardless of practice size or location, there are certain essential elements to consider. Click the link below for our essentials list:
Before reopening you should have a plan and establish appropriate protocols within your office. You can use the list below and the associated hyperlinked sections as a checklist and guide. Note: some of these actions are not required but most are recommended when they apply to your individual practice.
Educate staff about
Train staff should on job-specific PPE and demonstrate competency with selection and proper use of PPE
Strict adherence to hand hygiene including:
Daily Staff Health Screening: Take staff temperature before workday begins.
Place barriers to cover high touch frequency items when possible.
Remove all items that cannot be disinfected from the waiting area and the patient care areas such as :
Maintain proper air circulation (use only HEPA filtration)
Limit / eliminate cash
Move credit card processor to patient only touch
Think about everything that is touched – pens, coffee service, etc.
Post signage at the entrance and inside the office to alert all patients with respiratory symptoms and
fever to notify staff immediately.
Post signage with pictures to teach/remind all patients about correct respiratory hygiene and cough
etiquette. Specifically, they should cough and sneeze into a tissue (which then should be properly
discarded), or into the upper sleeve.
Remind patients to use appropriate handwashing technique.
Clean and sanitize/wipe down with EPA approved disinfectants:
Countertops after each patient encounter
Phones, including receiver and touchpad
Keyboards – all office computers
Doors, especially where someone would grab to open or shut
Doorknobs, drawer pulls, cabinet knobs
Pens (for patient use, keep a clearly marked supply of sanitized and not-sanitized pens)
Water cooler handles
Coffee machine buttons
Chair arms, in waiting area and back offices
Keys and key rings
Optical tool handles
On/off switches for all devices in the front office
Provide no-touch waste containers with disposable liners in all reception, waiting, patient care, and
Provide alcohol-based hand rub and masks in all reception, waiting, patient care, and restroom areas.
Always keep soap dispensers stocked and consider handwashing signs in those areas.
Pretest equipment (including the outsides of the machines where patients touch)
Projector knobs / Remotes
Trial contact lens displays / Trial lens scanner
Trial frames and lenses
Hard surface seats
Color/stereo test books
Office supplies (staplers, dispensers, etc.)
The outside of handheld condensing lenses
Limit Goldmann tonometry
Considering that patients who are asymptomatic may still be COVID-19 infectious, it should be assumed that all patients can transmit disease. Optometrists must exercise their independent professional judgment and carefully consider the availability of appropriate PPE to minimize risk of virus transmission.
Identify materials and supplies required for care to be delivered during an outbreak or pandemic, and suppliers that can provide those materials. Order appropriate materials and supplies.
Use an Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer
Wash with Soap and Water
Prepare staff for cleaning and sanitizing, while safely keeping up with patient flow as best as possible.
Identify strategies for your office that manage patient flow and ensure appropriate physical distancing, including, but not limited to
Do you have any of the following symptoms? Fever, Sore Throat, Cough, Shortness of Breath?
Have you recently lost your sense of smell or taste?
Do you have any GI symptoms? Diarrhea? Nausea?
Even if you don’t currently have any of the above symptoms, have you experienced any of these symptoms in the last 14 days?
Have you been in contact with someone who has tested positive in the last 14 days?
Have you traveled outside the United States by air or cruise ship in the past 14 days?
Have you traveled within the United States by air, bus or train within the past 14 days?
Confirm COVID-19 questionnaire before proceeding with exam
If possible, have a clear barrier separating front desk staff from patients. Otherwise, try to maintain distance when possible between front desk and patients when conducting office functions such as accepting payments, scheduling future appointments, etc.
Remove all items that cannot be disinfected from the waiting area and the patient care areas such as:
* Treating patients at higher-risk: COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe illness. Consider separate office hours for patients at higher-risk due to comorbidities or age.
Based on expectations for a return to routine care, begin booking routine appointments for an anticipated day one re-activation and beyond (be sure to make patients aware there remains a chance the limited schedule order may not be lifted).