According to recent surveys, 18.9% of the Canadian population lives in rural areas. Those same regions only hold 8% of the country’s physicians. If you’re struggling to meet the needs of your rural patients, these staffing and clinic suggestions, along with healthcare giveaways, may be just what the doctor ordered.
Reconsider your staffing needs
If your clinic is struggling to meet patient demands, hiring physician assistants or nurse practitioners may help. Studies show that these employees can be just as effective as their full-fledged physician counterparts in providing basic care. Just remember, the extent of what non-physicians can legally treat or prescribe varies from province to province.
If you add more non-physician staff to your clinic or facility, make sure your patients know they’ll have improved access. Mail patients a Post Card or magnet that introduces new staff members and explains what services they provide.
Examine and address community challenges
Rural patients sometimes have challenges that need to be addressed by the community. For example, patients may not have transportation or may be unable to afford a special diet recommended by a physician. Survey your patients to uncover what barriers they face. Use the information to improve access to care. For instance, maybe ridesharing is an option for those who don’t have transportation. Or perhaps there are discount coupons available for a recommended nutrition supplement or formula. Give a wellness promotional items to those who participate in your survey. A portion bowl, along with the message that says, “Thank you for helping us keep you healthy” is one option.
- Staff will require training on virtual care technology, online communication and privacy.
- Patients must have access to the technology required for a virtual visit, including internet access and a computer, smartphone or tablet.
- Some patients may require assistance navigating virtual care.
To get interested patients started with telehealth, designate a staff member to answer questions or walk them through registration. Encourage patients to give it a try with a healthcare giveaway like a Pill Organizer Water Bottle or an Exercise Band.
Make care convenient
Meet the needs of your rural patients no matter what their challenges are. With a closer look at your patients’ needs—and these healthcare giveaway ideas—you can ensure your office and its staff offer the best care.