What can dental practices do to provide the best possible service during a crisis like the Coronavirus outbreak? Aside from the immediate concern of keeping a safe practice running, available and serving the community, one essential is easily overlooked: the need to prepare for an inevitable upturn in demand once life begins to return to normal.
Having the capacity to help clients who will, in a sudden surge, have a need for dental services post-crisis should be part of your planning for tomorrow and your actions in the present.
Let’s take a closer look at some must-see considerations, compiled by Global Dental Practice Support specialist Ryan Devenish, to help practices prepare ahead…
Future-Proofing Your Practice for Post-Coronavirus Demand
Because running an efficient service in your community means preparing for their future needs, some simple steps now should be considered.
1, Adapt to Meet Clients’ Changing Needs
What services will your clients need once the majority are able to return to the practice? Is there a way to package services together, such as a package for entire families, or payment schemes to help ease the post-crisis burden?
Can initial video consultations, advice communications (including in the local media) and service updates to clients and non-clients help their dental health now plus help manage the flow of clients when the upturn in demand comes around later?
Also: because it’s easy to become reactive during busy periods, thinking practice, marketing and other strategies with colleagues now while time allows means a better, more focussed practice for returning clients.
*Consider how to package services to help clients post-crisis
*Review communications with clients and the community to support dental health and manage patient flow later
*Work on marketing and practices strategies with your team
2, Prevent Post-Crisis Downtime
Downtime now is less costly to your practice, and to clients, than later when appointments will be in greater demand.
Equipment servicing, repairs, boiler and electric testing plus maintenance training for staff as well as reviewing older equipment can help reduce the chances of lost working hours later.
For example, a Belmont 048 light may be worth replacing during this period before the unit fails as parts are no longer available.
Global Dental will shortly be announcing free remote engineer sessions to assist the UK dental industry during the Coronavirus outbreak. Watch our news section for more details.
*Plan ahead to avoid equipment downtime later
*Consider equipment servicing, reviews and maintenance training
*Carry out electrical and boiler testing
3, Perform General Surgery Upgrades
Freshening up paint, replacing furniture, reviewing signage and carrying out other cosmetic upgrades can be completed now with less disruption to working schedules than during a later upturn in demand.
A general surgery refurb can also be planned during this time as effort invested in improving your physical environment today can give clients a more positive, efficient and welcoming surgery for their return.
Upgrades can also help avoid future compliance issues. For example, a review of flooring should be carried out per HTM 01-05 6.47: “Flooring in clinical care and decontamination areas should be impervious and easily cleanable. Carpets, even if washable, should not be used. Any joins should be welded or sealed. Flooring should be coved to the wall to prevent accumulation of dirt where the floor meets the wall”.
*Action cosmetic tidying, such as painting, now for less disruption
*Refurbishment planning means leveraging a quieter period to invest the future
*Compliance checks can also be carried out
Questions? Help is Available
Global Dental’s industry specialists, who specialise in dental equipment and environments, will be happy to help all UK dental practices with advice, answers and guidance during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Keeping your practice compliant, in good working order and prepared for the inevitable post-virus spike in demand can be a positive activity for an entire team during this challenging time.
For complimentary advice simply contact the Global Dental team. Our 'Coronavirus Promise' explaining how we'll continue to support the UK dental industry during the ongoing crisis can be found here.