American College of Surgeons
Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter

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ACS releases new toolkit to guide communications with patients who may have fears returning to the health care facility for surgery in the COVID-19 era

June 04, 2020 10:06 AM | Jim Ireland (Administrator)

As hospitals resume operations paused due to COVID-19, a new survey shows a majority of people are reluctant to undergo procedures and may not reschedule necessary surgical care while COVID-19 continues to circulate in communities.* To help surgeons and hospitals address patient concerns, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has released a new resource, Preparing to Have Surgery during the Time of COVID-19.  

A new toolkit from the ACS accompanies the release of a patient discussion guide to help you communicate with your patients about the steps your hospitals are taking to reduce the risk of COVID-19, and stresses that, when it comes to talking about COVID-19, surgeon-patient communication is a shared responsibility. 

The survey also found surgeons are the most influential voices for patients wondering whether their care will be safe. Personalized outreach, including phone calls, can ease fears and allow patients to ask you questions about what they can expect when they arrive at the hospital, ambulatory center, or your office. They want to hear directly from you, and no level of detail is too much in our current environment. 

Included in this toolkit are templates and resources to help you reach out to patients directly who may also have wanted to reach out to you but are not comfortable making that first phone call. Also included are resources for traditional and social media, and your hospital or practice website, including:

  • The aforementioned discussion guide, with sample questions that your patients may ask. This guide will help you gather the information you will need to have detailed conversations and answer potential patient questions.
  • A companion document to help you prepare answers to anticipated patient questions and enlist members of the care team and administration as part of the preparation process. 
  • A template press release that you can distribute to your local media.
  • Sample social media posts, images, and tips for posting.
  • A sample video script that can be used for recording on your phone or tablet, which you can post on social media or on your hospital or practice website. You can also work with your hospital’s media relations officer to record a video if your facility has its own studio or videographer. 
  • A draft newsletter article that you can post on your hospital or practice website. 

View and Download the Toolkit

Should you need assistance as you use these tools to facilitate patient communications, don’t hesitate to reach out to the ACS Integrated Communications team for assistance at covid19@facs.org.

ACS wants to help you resume your practice, ensure your patients feel comfortable and receive timely care, and most important, ensure they avoid costly or even life-threatening delays in care. If we can provide more assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out. Additional COVID-19 tools and resources can also be found online at facs.org/COVID-19.

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* Revive Health. "Consumer Survey Update COVID-19." Accessed May 26, 2020. Available at: https://go.thinkrevivehealth.com/covid-findings-report-3.


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