What Does a Post-COVID Private Practice Look Like?
The pandemic has profoundly changed how we all view the world; our priorities, workplaces, habits, even our fears and goals. It is important to recognize that, while this is true for your clients, you, too, have likely faced shock and trepidation. COVID-19 has rattled our collective stability.
And as an article published in JAMA last year found said, “68% of practicing physicians in that state had cut their work hours because of COVID-19, while 62% had their salaries reduced.” This novel virus had eroded normalcy. It has shaken the health field in unimaginable ways.
But while we still don’t know exactly what the future might hold or what a post-COVID world will look like, we have gained unexpected insights into how private practices can be run. How you, as a therapist, can care for your clients even in the worst of times?
We have reached into the future and brought back technology and ideas that would ordinarily have taken years yet to develop and accept. They are shaping new ways of acting and offer new ways of practicing. This challenge can revolutionize the way you work and ultimately better your quality of life…
But to do this, you need to consider what you want, what you need, and how to craft a clear path forward? With unprecedented challenges comes atypical opportunity; this might be the time to transform your practice and your life, to create the post-COVID private practice of your dreams.
It all begins with you…
Wait! You Don’t Have A Therapist Website Yet?
Brighter Vision is the ultimate marketing package for therapists, centered around the best therapist website you’ve ever had. Contact us today to get started.
What is the right choice for you?
Your feelings are *just* as valid as your clients. You should only do what you are comfortable with. If you feel at risk in one-on-one scenarios, an entirely online practice might be your ideal setup. If you love face-to-face, consider the strategies required to do this safely. If you’d like a mix, think about the types of care you could excel at online and those that are best delivered in person.
With this in mind…
What are the potential benefits of each approach to therapeutic outcomes?
To help stimulate your contemplation, let’s look at the benefits of in-person, virtual, or mixed approaches. Additional ideas will pop into your mind.
Write them down. This will create a list that will inform your decision-making.
Benefits of in-person therapy
When face-to-face with a client, it is often easier to pick up on non-verbal cues. You can view quirks and subtle movements, nuances, and fidgeting that may be missed over Zoom.
Some clients might prefer the safe space associated with a physical practice.
Depending on the situation, an in-person approach might enable a client to be fully present. Digital appointments can be interrupted by family members, noise, faltering tech, or a lack of privacy or safety.
You might also serve a demographic or clients with a condition that would benefit from face-to-face connection.
Benefits of virtual consultations
Running a digital practice has its perks too; personally, professionally, and clinically.
On a personal note, this style of practice can eliminate commute time, allow greater lifestyle flexibility, and reduce stress.
On a professional note, it can free up time to study further, empower you to reach a global audience, and significantly lower overheads. By syncing automation tools with a solely digital setup, you can surcharge practice growth while minimizing time spent in your business.
On a clinical note, virtual consultations are wonderful for those who are unwell or unable to travel. It allows your best-fit clients to seek your care, regardless of location. And for those fearful of the stigma attached to attending a therapist’s office, the anonymity can be a boon.
Note: On the flip side, tech! If the digital space is your preference, invest in quality, safe, secure software, platforms, and broadband that rarely fails. Also, confirm with insurers whether the delivery of telehealth is viewed differently from face-to-face consultations. If yes, in what ways? Will this still suit your desired practice model?
Looking for more super-charged marketing tips?
Use this form to take our e-course on 8 Unconventional Ways
to Market Your Private Practice!
Benefits of a mixed approach
Some therapists tell us that they love face-to-face work but that they also want to harness the power of the net, create additional space in their lives, and serve in different ways.
For example, you might teach divorcees how to build resilience. Your digital approach might take the form of interactive group sessions via a COVID-friendly Zoom webinar and forum while your in-practice consultations dive into deeply personal issues. Or, if your expertise is with those experiencing depression, you might host a weekly ‘live’ inside a secret group and work face-to-face with people to address causes or contributors to this condition.
Tip: Take time to deeply contemplate your ideal practice in a post-COVID era. Ask yourself difficult questions and make notes. This might provide an opportunity you have not had before. Then, you can systematically and consciously plan your perfect practice.
With that said, if you decide to incorporate an in-person practice or a mixed approach, how can you protect yourself from the reality of COVID-19 infection and transmission?
Can I ethically require proof of vaccination from clients for in-person sessions?
This is an understandable question to ponder as our communities open back up. Proof provides a significant level of protection for yourself as the therapist, for those in your team, and your other clients.
However, COVID recommendations remain in flux, and regulations continue to change. Geographic location and (possibly) the clientele you serve might determine the rules around asking for proof of vaccination. After all, this question is a request for personal medical information; it has privacy implications.
This space is still evolving. This means, as much as we’d like to, we cannot provide a definitive answer. Suffice to say, it’s important to stay as up-to-date as possible. Your professional body should be able to offer the latest advice.
Can I legally require proof of vaccination from in-office employees?
As with asking clients, there may not be a straightforward answer.
The Society for Human Resource Management notes, “Employers should be cautious when asking about vaccination status.” But as fully vaccinated people may no longer need to wear masks or socially distance, this might determine how your team does or does not interact with your clients. This may make it a relevant question in terms of business practice and delivery.
The protection of your clients and those in your employ is paramount. So, speak to the relevant bodies to determine your responsibilities and rights. Confirm your requirements regarding malpractice insurance.
And remember: even if not deemed legally necessary, you may choose to retain masking, social distancing, and other protections against COVID-19.
Tip: To understand what might lay ahead, JD Supra’s article, 50-state Update On Pending Legislation Pertaining To Employer-Mandated Vaccinations – Updated July 2021 provides an informative read.
If you are sufficiently concerned, remember that telehealth provides an alternative…
Ready to start preparing for your first telehealth session?
Download your free checklist:
How can I continue to provide online therapy services?
There are important considerations when delivering therapy online. These include special licensing, a HIPAA-secure platform, and home office needs.
Do you need a special license to deliver telehealthcare? Will insurance cover the consultation? Are there other pertinent requirements?
For example, COVID-19 has changed so of the previous rules. According to Telehealth.HHS.gov, “The Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) authorizes eligible psychologists to practice telepsychology across member states.” Make sure you know and follow the rules.
The work of a therapist necessarily discusses intimate information that compels privacy. Yet, unsecured cyberspace places clients at risk. That’s why HIPAA-secure platforms are crucial.
Cloud and cloud services and email should be HIPAA-compliant. We at Brighter Vision take this responsibility very seriously. Our email and web form services incorporate Hushmail integration. This ensures that all correspondence between you and your client remains safe, secure, and HIPAA compliant.
Home office needs
To provide professional care, you should have everything you need at the ready…
What do you need to care for yourself?
An ergonomic workstation is foundational. Filtered water at hand, a headset, privacy, and peace. A separate workspace so you can leave your therapy work at the end of the day and move to your non-professional life without feeling compelled to do and be “more.” (You must guard against burnout)
What do you need to serve your clients?
From paper to reliable broadband, an appropriate setting to secure systems, software and hardware, consider the needs required to ensure your clients receive the best care.
The post-COVID practice takeaway
What does your post-COVID private practice look like?
That’s entirely your decision!
The new era that has been thrust upon us and the unexpected reality it brings offers a poignant pause; a fresh vantage point to reconsider your practice. You may decide to return to fully-fledged face-to-face practice, permanently switch to being a telehealth provider, or enjoy a mix of the two.
Consider this a rare opportunity to take stock. Think about your values, strengths, and passions, and what you truly want from your personal and professional life. Then, use this as your guide.
Whichever path you choose, we will be here by your side. Supporting you with secure, compliant technology that makes a profound difference. Our aim is to make your life easier, help you connect with the people who need your expertise, and provide safe communication pathways. We’re great at this, which frees you up to focus on what you’re great at – helping those who need you most.
Want the beautiful therapist website you deserve? Then you’re in the perfect place.
Brighter Vision is the ultimate marketing package for therapists, centered around the best therapist website you’ve ever had. Fill out the form below to learn more about our team of professionals who can’t wait to help your practice grow like never before 🙂