While vaccines have made our country somewhat return to normal, the effects of COVID-19 are still visible nationwide. One of those effects being the way we practice medicine and care for patients. Many patients with life-threatening diseases are hesitant about human contact. As an oncology practice, it’s vital to take safety precautions to make patients feel safe. This post will explore several challenges and tell you how you can overcome them as an oncology firm. Let’s begin.

People Are Turning to Telehealth More Often

One effect the pandemic has shown is an increased preference for at-home healthcare. With oncology, practices cannot bring complex medical equipment to a patient’s home, but many initial patient appointments and follow-ups can occur through video chats and other digitized platforms. It’s vital for practices to consider implementing video visits, which has become easier than ever.

Telehealth can also be used to prescribe medications and perform other tasks that you don’t need to meet in person to do. As long as your practice, and your patients, have the infrastructure to do so, this can be done by a competent team.

Overworked Medical Staff

Due to the pandemic, medical professionals have become increasingly overworked. Although this happens less often in oncology practices, the effects of overburdened staff are still evident. From the front desk representative to the nurses, every staff member feels burnt out.

One ideal way to counter this burnout is to reduce the workload and eliminate monotonous tasks. For example, when it comes to customer service, there are many inquiries that an IVR (interactive voice response) can solve. If someone needs to make an appointment, an automated phone system could set that up for them rather than your overworked front-facing staff.

The same applies to the billing team. AI and machine learning can eliminate several tedious tasks when filing insurance claims or verifying documents. While it cannot replace staff, AI can reduce the workload and improve morale by working alongside human specialists.

AI was already gaining traction but COVID-19 encouraged companies to invest in it even further. Now, it’s an inevitable solution, with many companies having some form of machine learning under their belt. Whether it’s a big tech company or a small business, everyone is taking advantage of machine learning, and so can you.

People Don’t Want to Pay In Person

Another challenge COVID-19 brought to oncology is that fewer people want to do in-person payments. During this time, patient pay preferences have become polarized but now there are options to meet everyone’s needs, from in-office payments, checks, and now more accessible online alternatives.

Oncology needs to have an infrastructure where people can pay through many different methods. Some payment methods include having an online portal or app that allows for easy payments, overviews of payment statuses, or an autopay system that takes the hassle out of meeting payment deadlines. Another way is through an IVR phone payment system, eliminating long wait call times or the inconvenience of varying business hours.

Cancer Patients Are Afraid of Catching COVID-19

While the fear of catching COVID-19 has lessened due to widespread vaccination efforts, the same sentiment does not apply to cancer patients. Many cancer patients are immunocompromised, meaning that even with vaccines, they can be in danger if they catch the virus. Not to mention, new variants and subvariants can arise, making vaccines less effective.

Because of this, an oncology practice must have protocols set in place to make cancer patients feel safe. It’s vital that your practice still wears masks whenever possible, enforces social distancing, and has a vaccinated staff.

Not only should this be a vital protocol for COVID-19, but this should be an established practice for any disease or virus outbreak. In addition, having these formalities enforced during other deadly seasons, such as flu season, can result in saving more lives.

People Do Not Have Enough Money

Because of the pandemic, many people lost their jobs or took on jobs with less pay. Many individuals, even if they have cancer, fear going into debt. Having insurance does not alleviate this fear because most patients are unsure of their coverage for such a life-threatening illness that entails many costly treatments.

Not to mention, oncology practices should have a reliable prior authorization system to ensure timely and affordable patient treatment.

For the insured, one way to have patients come in is to provide a scalable payment plan based on their needs. Considering so many patients are going through one of the most challenging moments in their lives, by simplifying the payment process, you can help relieve the stress of meeting payment deadlines so that they can focus on receiving treatment.

Partner with Infinx

At Infinx, we have worked throughout the entirety of the pandemic to create better online infrastructures. This effort was not just pandemic-specific, but a strive to support digitized healthcare options for all specialties. We want a world where AIs can help eliminate monotonous tasks and allow companies to grow more prominent than ever before. That is why we want to work with you to make that a reality.

For any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to take your practice and propel it to even more significant heights. For more information, reach out, and we will respond as soon as possible.