COVID-19 has forced us all to face a lot of unknowns. The many unknowns are weighing heavily on dentists as their practices have faced complete shutdowns. They don’t know how long their offices will be closed, or what they’ll expect when they are able to return. As dentists, it’s time to prepare for a new future in dentistry!
These recommendations are meant to help guide dentists as they consider reopening their practices. Before you dive in, remember to always follow the procedures and regulations enforced by your state, consider the outbreak significance in your area and remember the importance of you, your team and your patients’ health. No two dental practices are the same. Every practice is unique, and their solutions will be as well.
Looking to the Future
You are probably very eager and willing to get your practice reopened as soon as possible. As a dentist, you need to prepare for a new future of dentistry by considering and implementing several factors that will not only protect yourself, but your employees and your patients.
Tell your patients and team members all the procedures you are implementing to keep everyone safe.For example, reassure your patients of your office’s commitment to maintaining up-to-date procedures by informing them through mail, email or social media how you are committed to their safety. Also, don’t forget about your employees! Explain in great detail how you will prioritize team safety by demonstrating the best way to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), instructing them on how they will interact with patients and ensuring they are confident and comfortable enough to perform their duties well.
We must start somewhere, and this is a great way to ensure new protocols and methods can be tried and perfected. Dentists need to teach themselves and their team how to start treating patients in a new era of COVID-19. Develop protocols and allow your team to practice in a non-stressful environment. By “soft opening,” you can start helping patients again, as well as find out which safety protocols work best for you and your team.
Instead of taking on several dental appointments, make a limit on the number of patients you want to see per day. By staggering appointments, you can also allow yourself an additional 20-30 minutes per appointment, so you are not rushing your safety protocols, and this allows for the best patient/team interaction.
Develop a Pre/Post-Appointment Plan
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have released a series of protocols regarding the processes that need to be conducted before and after appointments. Consider the in-office procedures, pre-appointment screening processes and post-appointment protocols you will need to put in place for the safety of your team and patients. By providing your team with a checklist, they may accurately prepare and disinfect before and after appointments.
Continue to research and monitor the guidelines and regulations that are being enforced by your state, the CDC and the ADA. It’s very important to follow these guidelines. Consider utilizing the tools and resources the ADA has provided for dentists. Not only do they have information on available funds, but they have provided a Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit that includes a “Welcome Back” reassurance sample letter, patient pre-screening forms, checklists and so much more!
Lastly, we want you to know Launch Loyalty is here for you. We offer a variety of services and solutions that improve patient loyalty. While many people have been faced with layoffs, causing them to lose insurance benefits, give them the option of an in-house Launch Loyalty discount plan that includes discounts on common and major dental procedures. During this unprecedented time, our in-house discount plans can also include telemedicine. Telemedicine has become a frontline resource that has provided much-needed assistance for individuals and families across the nation.
We’d love to tell you more about our solutions and wish you the absolute best on your reopening!