Returning to in person medical appointments? 5 COVID-19 Safety Tips for Patient Waiting Areas

As America reopens and adjusts to this new normal, medical practices have a responsibility to fulfill.

Preventive preparation

Medical practices have to implement safety protocols within their offices in order to continue treating their patients in the safest environment possible. Below are five tips for adhering to the social distancing protocols.


Inform Patients of the Safety Protocols Before Appointments

A single call to your patients explaining protocols removes potential confusion or frustration from the equation. If you implement limits on children or other members of the family joining patients at their appointments, they need to be informed beforehand. Be sure to remind them about the mask protocols. If they are informed before their appointment, they will have time to prepare for the visit, and feel more confident about their own safety. 


One of the ways to lower the risk of spreading the virus is to ask patients to call from their car once they arrive. As soon as they arrive, one of your staff members can go out to bring them personal protective equipment (PPE) before they enter.


The doctor’s office is supposed to be a safe haven where health is the highest priority. Therefore, we have focused on implementing thorough safety protocols. For example, once the patients arrive, we screen for temperature and other COVID-19 symptoms.

Implement Pre-notification and Digital Entrance

In the wake of COVID-19, we have a responsibility to protect our healthcare heroes the most. To do that, it is necessary to have the smallest amount of face-to-face interaction with front-desk staff. 

We can begin to achieve that with digital solutions. When patients can automatically check-in, it not only increases front-desk efficiency but also reduces the wait times.

 Prescreening Stations Outside Offices

To make waiting rooms safer, we can separate COVID-19 patients from others by installing prescreening stations outside offices. When such a unit is present outside your clinic, the patient who comes in gets screened for temperature and other COVID-19 symptoms at first. If they turn out positive, the recommended action is to move them to one of the quarantine rooms at your facility or a nearby hospital.


Nurses dressed in full PPE tend to COVID-19 positive patients and move them to such rooms while doctors dressed in the same manner move in to treat them.


Practices, where such stations exist, have reported progress in terms of less COVID-positive employees after weeks of reopening. That’s evidence of the success of this prevention method. In this way not only do they keep the staff safe but also keep the waiting area clear of coronavirus.


All you have to do is have two nurses dressed in full PPE stand at the clinic’s entrance. They will take temperatures and ask four to five questions related to COVID-19 symptoms.

Create Some Gap between In-Person Appointments

Another effective social distancing method is to space out appointments. For example, if you limit one patient per provider per hour, it will lead to safety.


The person outside the office has a computer to make sure waiting rooms and exam rooms aren’t fully occupied. And if they are, patients are advised to stay in their car. It ensures maximum protection at all times.


Telehealth visits can adjust within those gaps between in-person appointments.

Keep Sick and Well Patients Apart

To be on point with social distancing throughout your day at the practice, a way to maintain order is to treat the sick patients first or after the patients who are significantly well.


To make that happen, it is best to have two schedules running in a day. Morning to mid-afternoon for the sick patients and later half of the day for the significantly well patients or the other way around.


This particular strategy is rock solid when it comes to protecting the lives of people moving forward during COVID-19 days. We can’t risk it, not after seeing what this virus is capable of, without taking any action.


A distance of 6 feet between patients must be there at all times during visits ensuring a high standard of care; with the cleaning staff on standby to do the cleaning once a patient has left the clinic.

Implementing the above tips can get your practice ready for patients presently. Safe interaction with them is the need of the hour for medical practices. Nurses, medical assistants, administrators, doctors, and patients are all priority, and any negligence to safeguard their health is not acceptable.


Telehealth has found new significance today, but it can’t replace in-person treatment for the sick and elderly. Let’s make sure every nook and cranny of your practice is safe in the post-lockdown era. 


For internal medicine, nutrition, and pediatric medical services, you know where to find us. Simply give us a call or drop a line on social media.