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Patient Communications Overview for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Last updated 8/7/2020

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As a global leader in patient engagement, Stericycle understands the importance of providing timely patient communications during this rapidly evolving pandemic. Now more than ever, healthcare providers must ensure they have reliable and up-to-date information to help protect their patients, their employees, and their communities.

With more than 300,000 unique patient engagements orchestrated every day across multiple live and digital channels, we developed a set of recommendations for healthcare providers based on industry best practices and CDC guidelines to enable safe and compliant communications with patients during this pandemic. 

Inbound Communications

  • Build dedicated hotlines for patient, caregiver, and staff questions.  Be sure to include answers to these frequently asked questions:  What are the symptoms of COVID-19?  What do I do if I am experiencing symptoms?  How can I reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?
  • Establish online chat services to help field questions from patients visiting your website.

Automated Outreach

  • Build email campaigns to reinforce your commitment to the safety and well-being of patients, staff, and the community.
  • Leverage mobile technology to distribute SMS broadcast messages to your patients around clinic closures, changes to hours of operation, preventative measures, policy updates, and more. You can also educate specific patient groups, such as those who are scheduled for an upcoming appointment or who are at an increased risk for complications.

Operational Communications

  • Rewrite call scripts and appointment confirmation automated responses to provide better instructions to patients, including detailed information about what patients should do if they show symptoms, how to access virtual care options, and recommendations to reschedule.
  • Utilize online and live voice scheduling to reduce the amount of time patients spend waiting in line at screening and testing clinics.
  • Conduct post-discharge calls to follow up with patients who were diagnosed with Coronavirus. Calls should be made within 24 to 48 hours to answer questions the patient may have regarding their post-discharge instructions, medications, and care plans.
  • Use SMS messaging capabilities to text surveys to patients to gauge community satisfaction with your response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Should you have questions about these recommendations or how we can support you and your COVID-19 patient communication strategy, please here.

For additional guidelines from the CDC on how to prepare for COVID-19 before, during, and after an outbreak click here

How To Prepare For The New Patient Journey-A guide to navigating the reopening of healthcare

Download this guide to learn best practices for reopening and reengaging your patients:

  • Prepare your facility to ensure patient and staff safety
  • Consider staffing needs and prepare to make adjustments
  • Prioritize appointments and effectively manage your schedule
  • Communicate expectations to patients for upcoming visits
  • Optimize patient experience tools to spur growth

Prior to COVID-19, the patient journey was complicated. After COVID-19, it will be even more difficult to navigate as healthcare evolves and adapts. As many states begin a phased reopening plan, healthcare systems are opening their schedules to elective surgeries and procedures, chronic disease care, and preventative care. Yet many patients remain reluctant to seek treatment. Providers need a strategic reopening plan to protect patients and staff and drive revenue while promoting positive patient experiences.

Download this timeline for preparing your organization for reopening as well as the steps needed to reengage patients and prepare for a new patient experience.