Prepare yourself – there will be changes when you reopen your practice. With that thought in mind, I want to share some tips and ideas that should be considered at this time. We know that getting accustomed to the new PPE protocols are going to be a big change for you and your team. Schedule some time where you can practice taking them on and off, and doing the things that you need to do so you are more comfortable once your practice opens .
Consider the changes that you may have planned a year or two ago. Is that direction still the same in this new environment? I want you to think about your practice from a different standpoint, from a patient experience perspective. Let me give more details regarding the patient experience, as there are several things to consider. We know they have seen the CDC studies and the news during the quarantine and shelter in place at home. Since they may believe the virus is going to live on paper, your patients may not want to handle it like they did before. It is best to assume they are going to be concerned about contact with any common surface, so it is from that standpoint that I wanted to make a couple of comments. Now is a great time, no matter what software you use in your office, to switch to electronic forms. You could be putting them on your website using an online portal or an iPad in your office that can be wiped down with disinfectant between uses. There are so many different companies now that can help you with that process. I encourage you to investigate that because the less paper you can have in your practice is going to make your patients feel a lot more at ease.
Look for opportunities to streamline the administrative portion of your workflow and keep patients from encountering one another. Payments may need to be received chairside, or before proceeding to the operatory, since there will be no waiting at the front of the office anymore. Perhaps this is something that you may have always wanted to do but did not think your patients were going to be open to the idea. By installing a “Pay Now” button on your website, or credit card swipers in your operatories will give you this flexibility. As you can imagine that is very popular and it streamlines a lot of your processes. There is also text to pay technology that is out there as well.
Your clinical team should start to input the treatment plan into your software in the operatory. In addition, they should start learning some specifics about insurance to be able to answer questions for your patients. Plan on using technology to its fullest extent so that you keep all the paper away. There are many ways to do this and I am throwing out some ideas to get you and your team thinking how to change items in your dental practice. Here is a cool thing – we already know that our dental assistants really influence treatment plan acceptance. I know as soon as the doctor leaves the room, the patient will ask if they really need to have this treatment done. Your dental assistant gets hit with all these questions, so this is an opportunity for assistants to be like rock stars and knock the ball out of the park.
In order for your entire team to cohesively make this happen, your admin team is going to need to input all the information into the computer and figure out how you’re going to communicate quickly between the front and back in case there is a question. Whether you choose to use a radio or a chat function on your computer, there are a lot of options available for you.
If your clinical team needs to learn how to have successful financial conversations – please get in touch with me. Now is the time for you and your team to be focusing on those changes that keep your team and patients safe and comfortable in your practice. This is going to be new to all your patients, so whatever changes you are going to make, please make sure the correct expectations are explained up front to your patients so that there are no surprises. We can assume that patients coming in are going to be concerned, and now is when you and your team build trust and alleviate the fears that they have of coming to your practice. I think, at least for the short term, this is just how business is going to be done from now on, so your team needs to be prepared.
I know I covered a lot of different topics so if there is something that I can help you with, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. If you are still preparing to open, please click the link to see more about my Evolve program that I can modify for your needs. Stay safe!