The focus on creating new protocols, attaining PPE, and implementing strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19, demanded the full attention of dentists and their teams over the last few months.
With safety systems in place, it is time to turn your focus to best practices in other areas of your business that need attention during this pandemic.
Information and regulations are changing rapidly. Frequently check the ADA, your state dental association’s website, and Burkhart’s Pandemic Recovery Guide on our website, to actively monitor and implement mandates and timely recommendations.
Incorporate talking points into each appointment designed to reassure patients as to steps you are taking to keep them safe. Patients are more aware of cross contamination than ever. Use phrases such as, “we have reserved enhanced protective equipment for your appointment.” Open sterilized pouches or cassettes of instruments in view of the patient. Keep a bullet point list of enhanced PPE and equipment, and share it with patients via your website, social media, and through in-person dialogue.
Many of your patients may have experienced a business interruption due to the pandemic. Offering hours outside of the standard 8-5 work schedule will help them schedule without the need to miss work hours. As you ramp the practice back up, consider accelerated, assisted, or shadow scheduling for greater efficiency. Contact your Burkhart Account Manager for additional information and complimentary scheduling templates.
Offer additional financial options during this difficult time. You may have more patients suddenly without dental benefits due to a lay off or reduced disposable income following their own financial impact from the virus. Review your in-house options, to include 90-day payment terms, outside financing, and in-house wellness plans. Be sensitive to the financial impacts your patients are experiencing and offer terms more readily than ever. Discussing tight financial times can be difficult for some patients; make sure you are advertising these options in a manner that initiates the conversation in a private or semi-private area.
Many practices utilized virtual exams when practices closed. This technology is here to stay and will limit the impact emergencies have on the schedule. According to HPI, 42% of dental emergencies screened in a virtual format did not need to come in for treatment. Virtual exams provide a high level of convenience for patients, and many won’t want to give that up. Block time in your schedule for virtual emergency exams and allow a team member the opportunity to manage the start of the call to include updating health history, explaining virtual call fees, and gaining the chief complaint. This will reduce the time needed from the doctor. While HIPAA requirements were lifted during the pandemic, be sure to establish an account with a HIPAA compliant platform moving forward.
Look back to your vision and mission statements. Is your practice still walking those core beliefs out after incorporating COVID-19 related changes? You may need to change the plan to achieve your vision, however – don’t change the vision. Now more than ever, a relationship-based practice needs to create a warm and welcoming environment. Remain flexible to change as we move through different stages of the pandemic. Above all, take care of each other and stay healthy!
We’re dedicated to compiling recommendations for success as we navigate our new normal and what it means for your practice. Keep up to date with Pandemic Recovery Guide.
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