For most of us, the ADA-recommended switch to providing only emergency care meant an actual or virtual shutdown of our dental practice. But now that the recommendation has expired, it’s time to start working on ramping your practice back up to where you want it to be.
The coronavirus pandemic is a speed bump on your route to a 7-Figure Dental Practice, not a roadblock. Hopefully, you did what you could to position your practice for reopening. Here’s how to get yourself moving again.
Protect Yourself, Your Staff, and Your Patients
Before you do anything, it’s important to make sure you are really ready to open again. The key is to make sure you are able to minimize the risk to yourself, your staff, and your patients. Having illness run through the practice will make it hard to get back up to full operating potential. Worse, if you become the locus for a cluster of infections, you can lose vital patient trust, which can be hard, even impossible to regain.
Review the recommended guidelines for sanitizing equipment, changes to charting using computers or paper, allowing staff and other people into the operatory, and changes to the waiting area. Also make sure you have access to adequate PPE for staff and patients. Note that new guidelines can be intensive on your supplies, so don’t rely on old estimates for usage as a guide.
And, of course, be aware of how the pandemic is progressing in your area. If you are in a place with a very high number of cases, or if cases continue to escalate rapidly in your area, maybe it’s not a good idea to switch from emergency care only at this point.
Start with New Purpose and Focus
The forced slowdown was a great time to reassess your practice and your priorities. It’s quite likely that you came up with some ambitious,exciting plans to change the way you run your dental practice. However, it’s one thing to put these plans down on paper, and a completely different thing to follow through on them. That takes true leadership.
It’s normal to feel anxious about these new plans, and you might even feel that it’s too risky to try them now, but this is actually a great time to reinvent your practice. You’ve had a forced break with your patients, giving you the perfect opportunity to reassess which patients you want to carry over to your new practice and which ones you might want to let go.
But it’s not just about patients. This is an ideal time to review your staff and procedures. The new requirements for infection control could have caused stress in your practice, revealing which team members were adaptable, and which ones weren’t. Your staff will be critical to changing your practice, and if there are some who will stubbornly resist the change, it might be time to let them go, too.
One word of caution, though. If you are introducing new procedures over the next few months, roll them out gradually and be supportive in your guidance for team members. Combined with infection control changes, other new procedures might seem overwhelming. Take it one step at a time.
Reassure Your Patients
Perhaps the worst thing about this pandemic is the uncertainty it’s created. People are looking for comfort from a calm, knowledgeable, reassuring source. For many, the dentist is their most constant point of contact with healthcare. That puts you in a unique position to help them feel safe and secure in venturing out for routine and elective dental care, as well as other daily tasks as appropriate.
The ADA has a sample “welcome back reassurance letter.” This is a great starting place, but it’s not enough if you really want to reach your patients. Take the time to personalize the letters to the extent possible.
Don’t just add your names and your patients’–link specific procedures to people in the practice they might know, such as the front desk coordinator or their hygienist. If you have personal notes in a patient’s file, reference those in the letter. Let patients know that you know them, and that you are personally reassuring them.
And, of course, add details about the conditions in your area, showing that it’s both prudent and safe to resume routine and elective dental care.
Take Full Advantage of the Restart
No doubt about it: the virtual shutdown of dental practices across the country has been a challenge for all of us. But it doesn’t have to stop your journey to a 7-Figure Dental Practice. In fact, it’s a great opportunity to sprint from the line and make great progress toward having the kind of dental practice you want.
If you are looking for help and guidance in making that sprint and the rest of the journey to your destination, it might be time to get consultation from Dr. Shahin Safarian who can help you achieve your goal. Please call (858) 349-7996 today to get started.