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A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

How to Ensure Patient Access During the Holidays


The holidays can be a stressful time for both patients and clinicians. Here are a few ideas to ensure stress-free access to care for patients, and tips for everyone to stay healthy and rested.

The  holidays can be stressful for both clinicians and patients.


Holiday gatherings can strengthen connections with friends and family, but they can also translate germs from one sick relative to 15 others, not to mention the foodborne illnesses from food sitting out unrefrigerated for far too long. These elements, and others, result in increased demand for both acute care and office visits at times when clinics are short-staffed, with many healthcare professionals on vacation to reconnect with their own families.


In terms of counseling, we remind our patients (particularly those who are most medically complex and fragile) to try to stick to their usual regimens and schedules of activity, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and medication compliance. We urge them to avoid overindulgence and binging on all fronts.



Top two things to do to ensure patients can be seen and served through the holidays:

1.)Instead of scheduling lots of follow-up appointments through the holidays, try to keep your schedule as open as possible for same-day and next-day visits.



2.)Try your best to be accessible by phone and through the EHR to communicate with patients who are out of town. Just having that access for patients often puts their mind at ease and allows them to enjoy their time with family.



If you’re covering the practice through the holidays, try to:

1.)Focus on your own self-care to stay rested and heathy for your patients.



2.)Reach out to colleagues who are working or on call if there is a situation with a patient that you’re unsure how to resolve.