Clinic reopening post-COVID-19: a precautionary tale from China

The following is an excerpt from an article pending print in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: 32.

The government announced a lockdown to Wuhan on January 23 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Our clinic is located in Hangzhou, southeast China, where there are a large number of internet companies. Therefore, we can easily use online social media as a tool to function and manage our clinic during the shutdown as well as provide online consultation services for our clients.

The clinic was officially approved to open on February 24 when 
the epidemic in Hangzhou was under control. At that moment, the situation of virus outbreak around the world, as well as in some parts of China, was still unpredictable. To guarantee the safety of our staff and patients, we conducted a strict infection prevention process in our clinic.

Apart from the standard prevention procedures described 
in the chart (below), considering the anesthesia-related risk and the adequate time needed after operation for proper cleaning and air changing, we developed a staged process to provide reservations for different medical services.

Stage 1: From February 24
to March 1, we only received reservations for consultation, skin care or injection procedures.

Stage 2: From March 1, we started to do some small surgeries under local anesthesia, such as double eyelid surgery.

Stage 3: Since the virus outbreak situation became better in the whole country and especially in our city, from March 27, we started to open all the surgery reservation options within a limited amount.

As a result, there have been no confirmed or suspected cases of the COVID-19 in our clinic.

Among all the patients who tried to make an onsite reservation, we declined 7% of them because they might have a travel history, contracted the virus or taken public transport. The number of onsite consultations also reduced 32.8% compared to the same period last year. Although the total number of consultations, including online discussions, increased by 20.7%.

Optimistically, our average profits per day show a steady growth during the staged process. The average daily profit during the second stage is 17.4% more than the first stage, and the pro t during the third stage is 34.6% more than the second stage.

As for an independent clinic owner like us, the priority in this COVID-19 pandemic period is
the health and safety of patients and staff. However, balancing the deficit caused by the shutdown and quarantine is also one of our major goals after reopening. Based on our cautious strategy described above, we have temporarily achieved the goal of gradually making profits.

In conclusion, we have shared
the precautions during the gradual opening process, and solved
the subsequent problems after shutdown. As a Chinese plastic surgery clinic, we have surmounted the crisis by mid-April. Therefore, we hope our experience can help more independent clinics overcome the COVID-19 crisis.

* Lu Wang, MD; Ruicheng Gong, MD; Sa
Yu, MD; Huan Qian, MD, “Clinic Reopening post-COVID19: Precaution of a plastic surgery clinic in China”, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open Journal Publish Ahead of Print – https://journals.lww.com/prsgo/ Citation/9000/_Clinic_Reopening_post_ COVID19__Precaution_of_a.97405.aspx

Infection prevention process during post-COVID19 period

Marketing 101: The 20/80 Rule

In general, the top 20% of patients make up 80% of a clinic’s revenue. Pay your top performers special attention:

  • Keep in contact with patients to ensure they are abreast of all changes
  • Prioritise rescheduled cases
  • Offer special promotions