5 steps to recouping lost revenue from coronavirus-canceled elective procedures

Healthcare providers are in a COVID-19-induced revenue crunch. With a backlog several months large of canceled elective procedures, providers are looking to reengage patients and resume these procedures.

The backlog of postponed or canceled elective surgeries is a complex challenge. It’s not just the overwhelming number of appointments that need to be rescheduled that has executives worried—there’s also the question of how to regain lost revenue, assuage fears of COVID-19 exposure, and collect accurate data on canceled or postponed procedures as well.



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A methodical and flexible approach to re-engaging, prioritizing, and rescheduling patients for elective procedures that takes into account their sense of safety will ensure a steady and streamlined resumption of business revenue for surgery centers, medical practices, and hospitals.

Here’s how to do it.

1, Strategic reengagement

Set a strategy with content journeys planned out for each type of procedure and patient segment, taking into account realistic timelines and the possibility of another coronavirus spike causing further delays.

Some suggestions for content:

  • How surgery preparation may change to ensure patient safety
  • How your office or facility is adapting to new safety protocols
  • Best ways for patients to communicate with the office staff
  • Appointment reminders

Reassure patients at each step in the journey that their comfort is your top priority; describe safety measures being implemented at each stage of their interaction with your office.

“Personalized marketing was made for this type of situation,” says Pat Donlin, Ciberspring’s sales director. “Showing your patients that you understand their situations and concerns by addressing them proactively is one of the best ways to build trust at a critical time.”

2, Triage and prioritize procedures

Review all backlogged procedures and identify any barriers to rescheduling, both for patients and for your organization. Barriers for patients include fear of COVID-19 exposure, and loss of health insurance. Barriers for your organization may include limited staff resources, and platform and data integration.

Prioritize patients in order of surgical urgency. Segment patients based on the following:

  • Availability of staffing and facility capacity
  • Type of procedure
  • Urgency of procedure
  • Preferred location
  • Referring provider

3, Streamline rescheduling

Avoid overwhelming your front office with rescheduling phone calls and appointment reminders. Use a patient or customer relationship management (CRM) platform, such as Salesforce, to facilitate personalized patient journeys that will help patients feel comfortable and understood. Leverage automated tools within your CRM to take some of the load off of your front office staff.

For example, we helped a 50-location medical practice use a chatbot in Salesforce Health Cloud to answer patient questions, freeing up the limited call center staff for more urgent issues.

4, Accelerate patient intake

Using chatbots or similar automation options, shift patients to more self-service options that they can complete online, like:

  • Updating their contact information
  • Updating their insurance information
  • Verifying insurance coverage
  • Renewing expired authorizations
  • Paying for their visit
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments and lab tests

5, Plan for another spike

Given the uncertainties of the next 6-12 months, establishing an efficient communications strategy and an integrated MarTech system to support it will be crucial to mitigating any further revenue losses from coronavirus or any other unforeseen business stoppage. Building resiliency into your systems will help to keep your patients and their safety at the forefront, with less disruption to revenue moving forward.


Wondering how to reengage with your patients and protect future revenue from unforeseen business disruptors? Ciberspring is ready to help. We are masters of streamlined, elegant solutions to any digital challenge. Fill out the form below to start the conversation.

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