COVID-19 Practice Crowdsourced Ideas

Many parts of the country are knee-deep in responding to COVID-19 cases in their community while some are preparing but not yet in containment mode. Below is a list of crowdsourced ideas that have come from OP colleagues across the country.

Note: Please check back frequently for updates and share your ideas on our listservs. We will keep updating the resources on a regular basis.

Keeping Families Informed

  1. Unified messaging for on hold/voicemail, music, social media and websites.
  2. Consider appointing someone your COVID-19 communication point person to make sure this is consistent and kept up to date.
  3. Direct your families to one place where you want to keep the message up to date, for example the practice website.
  4. Send an email blast to all families using Patient Message eXchange. Or, if you are currently using OP Notify, send an on-demand message via call, text, or email.
  5. Have one of your social media gurus post a daily message on social media to your families. It’s reassuring and makes them feel connected and cared about even if they aren’t coming in.

Patient Scheduling: Keeping Sick and Well Separated

  1. Consider canceling walk-in hours (can’t control who comes in).
  2. Consider booking only well visits in the AM and all sick in the afternoon.
  3. Consider asking families to only bring one parent and the child who has the appointment whenever possible.
  4. Consider having a “sick” and a “well” team where higher risk providers and staff are dealing only with the well patients.
  5. Consider splitting the patient rooms into sick and well (and using a back entrance if possible).
  6. Consider eliminating the waiting room and taking patients directly to a room as they walk in to check in. Credit card swipers can be added to any computer that has OP on it fairly cheaply. 
  7. Use text to cell to let families know when you have a room for them and have them remain in their cars.
  8. Some families who are hesitant to keep well visits may be amenable to strategies that “minimize” the time in the office. Some practices are having a phone encounter to get the history and walk through the usual questions, review any surveys already completed prior to the visit on the portal (such as development, depression, etc.). This phone encounter may even occur while the patient is in the parking lot. Then they come in and are exposed to 1-2 people in full PPE (the provider and one staff) who gets height, weight, does a quick exam and administers vaccines.

Intra-office Communication

  1. Make sure your staff understands the importance of not coming to work if they are feeling unwell.
  2. Consider huddles throughout the day with your office team; before patients arrive, midday and at the end of the day. Keep the messages calm and consistent.
  3. Allow team members to share their difficulties. Include in your huddle “any obstacles that may be in my way of doing my job well today or tomorrow” .
  4. Allow room for team members to say they are worried about a grandparent or a sick child or paying their bills if they get sick and can’t come to work.
  5. Consider using group texting (no PHI please) or a GroupMe app, or another communication platform such as Basecamp or Slack to give daily updates to your office team. Both date AND time them so everyone is aware of the latest information.


  1. We are all likely going to run out of equipment, whether it’s cleaning materials or personal protective equipment. Include in your daily huddle the status and what makes sense.
  2. Follow your local public health guidelines about masks and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
  3. Don’t assume everyone is on the same “cleaning” page as far as hard surface before/between/after patients.
  4. If you are having trouble getting PPE, advertise on your Facebook page, social media or other platforms and ask the community to donate so you can stay safe. (Most dentists are not working and have supplies)

Need to reschedule a particular provider's scheduled appointments?

  1. The below SQL query will show you all future scheduled appointments, types, and providers. To highlight and copy the code below to your clipboard, click the Copy button. 

select patno, appt_date, text2, code1,staffname as scheduled_with from schedule
left outer join staff1 on staff1.staffid = schedule.addr_id where appt_date >= cast('today' as date) and (visit_status is null or visit_status not in ('Cancelled','Canceled','No Show','No Show*')) and schedule.patno >99

  1. Select from your drop-down only the patients you want to send a message to. For example, you want to cancel all Complex visits with a specific provider.

  1. In the upper right hand corner of the OP Database Viewer, click the green Send button.  
  2. Click the OK button on the confirmation window to send messages to all visible patients.
  3. The Patient Message eXchange window opens where you will follow your normal PMX procedure to sort and send messages. 

Note: If unsure of how to use the DB Viewer or PMX click a link below.