Now, more than ever, your patients need to know you have their best interest in mind. We’ve compiled some talking points and suggestions to help you let them know their safety is your top priority.
Soft Re-Opening of Your Dental Practice
Assure Your Patients
If you have not been reaching out to patients already, you need to now. Conduct wellness calls and outreach to your patients with your team. Provide some talking points about what to expect. Consider a video you can post on social media to assure patients. Your patients may feel fearful to return to your practice at this time. Reassure them of the safety measures you are taking.
“The team wants you to know we’re thinking of you. We want to share some of the things we have been working on here at <Practice Name> and some of the changes you will see. We are installing medical-grade air purifiers that will help keep you and our team safe. We will be limiting the number of patients we see at one time to support social distancing. We will be asking patients to wait in their vehicles, and we will text you when your room and team member are ready for you.
You may also notice different masks and uniforms. We want to assure you we have the best sterilization protocols in place and are closely following the CDC recommendations.
Through these challenges, we have gained an even greater appreciation for you, our patients; and we are committed to keeping you safe while you are in our hands. Something else we have added is teledentistry.
If you have any questions or a dental emergency, please call the office and we can set up a teleconference with you. We can do a lot in that conference to help you. If you have questions, please call the office. We are here for you. We’ll let you know just as soon as we have an open date.”
For additional recommendations on staying connected with your patients, ask your Account Manager for our resource, “Fostering Personal Patient Connections During Closure”.
- Update your website and social media channels with your anticipated opening date and offer words of reassurance regarding added sanitation and infection control protocols incorporated for their safety. Let them know what to expect on their arrival.
- Reach out to your Burkhart Account Manager for sample scripting
- Send an email to your patient base to let everyone know you have re-opened, the steps you are taking to protect them, added hours to serve them if applicable, and to encourage scheduling.
- Reach out to your Burkhart Account Manager for a sample email
Patient Confirmation Changes
- Incorporate screening questions to assess health. Include health screening questions as recommended by the CDC and ADA.
“Please understand we are pre-screening all patients out of care for everyone’s safety…”
- Explain new arrival protocol – call or text on arrival, wait in vehicle, no visitors in the clinic.
“To ensure your and our other patients’ safety through social distancing, please call or text us from your vehicle when you arrive for your appointment. We will respond, letting you know the next steps. Please be aware no visitors are allowed in the clinic at this time, only the patient being treated.”
- Ask patients to update their health history online. When not possible, they should update in a private area that is sterilized immediately afterward – including pens and electronic devices. When using pens, consider letting the patient keep the pen after use.
Patient Arrival – New Protocols
Modify the check-in process
- The patient should call or text on arrival and wait in the vehicle until the operatory is available.
- If the patient is unable to wait in the vehicle, care should be taken to make sure there is a 6-foot distance between patients in the reception area. This may require the removal of extra chairs positioned closely together.
- When possible, add signs in front of parking stalls with instructions.
- Customize your Practice Entrance Sign for front door indicating the reception area is closed as an added health protection measure.
- Restrict entry into the clinic for patients only; ask visitors and family members to wait in their vehicles. This reduces encroachment of the 6-foot recommended distancing for other patients and staff members.
- Provide a barrier or instruct patients to maintain a 6-foot distance from others.
- Check with your malpractice carrier to see if any updates are needed for patient consent forms related to COVID-19.
- Have a touchless, laser thermometer available to screen patient (and staff) temperatures. Refer patients with temperatures above 100.4ºF to their medical provider, and ask them to reschedule when symptoms are no longer present.
Additional guidance: CDC Guide on Temperature Checks
- Provide touchless hand sanitizing units at the reception area, and ask each patient to sanitize their hands on arrival and departure.
Additional guidance: ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit