Like a deadly game of dominoes, COVID-19 splintered corporate supply chains by emptying crowded offices and teeming assembly lines. Few businesses have survived unscathed. This pandemic has shown that no enterprise is too big to fail.
"‘The first quarter of the year was tense. We hoped the infection would fail to grow into a full-blown pandemic, but by the time it had reached our offices, we were prepared.’ – says Ron Joosten, co-founder of the IIC Group."
The IIC Group’s solution was a hybrid approach to working from home. Treatment officers would come to the physical clinics as scheduled, conducting remote sessions with their at-home patients. This ensured compliance with both legal and insurance requirements, and by removing the patients as office visitors, allowed the high hygiene standards to be maintained. New temporary protocols for the 400+ treatment officers were implemented over a single week in all 11 centers. This wasn’t made possible due solely to leading-edge technology, but by a carefully orchestrated policy which provided the necessary infrastructure for swift management decisions and immediate implementation with line supervisors.
The IIC Group may not have been preparing for a pandemic, but it was in their nature to have an eye on the future. Fully digital portals for exercises and self-reporting had been available to clients for years. Custom scheduling software to coordinate the over 3700 monthly visits was the first investment made for both PHI and Rughuis protocols. The results of the investment in digital capacity demonstrate how company resilience was strengthened by strategic thinking.
Who had considered that customers could not come to an office for an extended period of time and that cashflow and operations would be necessary to sustain during the extended absence? Without these structural procedures, other companies folded when customers and clients were home-quarantined and not allowed to physically travel or be present at the workplace.
Remote sessions were a big hit. By providing treatment centers the simple technology required to hold patient video calls, the IIC Group had the best month in five years in May 2020. The typical 15%-20% last-minute patient cancellation rate dropped to 10%, the numbers were great and kept rising.
"‘Remote sessions were great. They saved us in a time of crisis. But we’re not going to continue supporting them as a primary process. They simply don’t provide enough communication bandwidth for the kind of therapy we carry out.’ – adds Marc Kuijpers, the other half of IIC’s executive management."
The IIC Group weathered the first semester of COVID-19’s harsh re-education regime. They did not do so by simply ‘working remotely’. Their existing business model was solid. Their workflows and processes were geared towards agile management and production since their very inception. Switching to remote sessions for therapists at the office and clients at work was made easy by an existing healthy digital presence in their clients’ lives, through portals and constant communication.
Now that the Netherlands is coming out of lockdown, they are ready to welcome clients back in their clinics. On appointment and with social distancing in full force, of course.
"‘There is no substitute for being able to directly read someone’s posture and body language live. Therapy sessions with psychologists develop more slowly than they could, and physical therapy simply doesn’t work as well, no matter how advanced our client portals become. There is a wealth of information to both communicate and read, that remote viewing simply doesn’t have room for.’ – concludes Ron."
COVID-19 has shaken the foundations of both society and the economy. Those who survived did not do so by rushing into action with fancy solutions. They survived due to a solid adaptable infrastructure with concurrent communication. Zoom, Teams and Skype aren’t the saviors. Expedience, adaptability and resilience of company staff are.
Tim Rease worked for 25 years in telecom and financial professional services, specializing in Fortune-500 strategic projects and program management. He focuses now on wellness and alternative medicine, specializing in medical qi-gong and traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal formulas. In his free time, he is working on his second novel.
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