For most of us the last couple of weeks have felt like a roller coaster ride with events and circumstances everchanging around the world by the minute.  This has created for some an environment of disbelief, exhaustion, fear. and uncertainty.  As a business owner bearing the brunt of this unprecedented event and its effect on your team, their families and your patients can be overwhelming at best.  Not to mention the impact on you and your business.  Now is the time to take a deep breath, recharge your batteries and enjoy time with your family and loved ones.  Then you will be ready to focus on the future and formulate a plan to determine what can be done now to set you and your team up for success going forward.  

What do we do with our downtime?

How many times have we said, Someday I want to update my webpage, learn more about sleep apnea, improve the recare system in my office, determine the ROI of investing in CEREC and a myriad of other tasks on your ‘I Would Like To Do list’?  Well folks, someday is here! This is the opportunity to come together as a team and tackle all the things you have wanted to improve in your practice for so long.  The beauty in this is with the technology available today it can all be done remotely. You can have online daily huddles, weekly meetings, mastermind sessions and workshops with your team.

Now more than ever your team is looking to you for guidance and leadership. Knowing in the midst of a crisis reaching pandemic proportions that you stand confident and strong with a clear vision on how you will navigate these rough waters using a calm steady hand.  This is an opportunity to strengthen as a team, hone your skills and improve your practice from top-to-bottom. All while preparing to reopen your office and provide a team centric focus on an extraordinary patient experience.  Listed below are some ideas to answer the question of:

 “What do we do now?”

Everything has happened so quickly, take a moment to review your office shutdown process.

  • Where do I reschedule my patients if I already have a full schedule?
    • If you are a four-day week: Discuss with your team the option of adding a fifth day for a few weeks after the office reopens to accommodate the patients that need to be rescheduled.
    • Will you need an additional temp-hygienist?
  • What is your emergency care protocol?
    • What constitutes an emergency?
    • How will emergency patients reach the office to schedule an appointment?
    • Who will assist the doctor with emergency patients?
    • What health protocols are you implementing?
      • Checking the temperature of patients and team members?
      • Requiring long-sleeved gowns?
      • Wiping down door knobs and handles after every use?
    • Training and workshop opportunities (Remote meeting based)
      • VIP patient experience
        • What does the VIP patient experience look like?
        • Mastermind with the team.
        • Create a step-by-step process.
      • Overcoming patient objections workshop
      • OSHA/HIPAA certification
      • Schedule team webinar-based training sessions with vendors such as: Lighthouse, Revenue Well, Dental Intel, Care Credit, Solutions Reach, Weave or any other outside vendor you use to determine if you are fully utilizing their systems.
      • Are your systems and processes specifically defined and documented in an office operations binder. Review and update as necessary.
        • Some examples include:
          • End of day process
          • Daily deposit process
          • End of month process
          • New Patient process
          • Treatment Coordinator functions
          • Insurance verification, claims submission, and follow up.
          • Accounts Receivable process
          • Scheduling to goal
          • Recall/continuing care process
          • Phone call protocol and scripting
          • Inventory process
          • Sterilization process
        • Organizational opportunities (consider one-two team members at a time in office)
          • Clean, organize operatories
          • Clean and organize all office areas as needed
          • Break down lab, scrub from top-to bottom inside and out.
          • Clean, organize and label the clinical inventory
          • Ensure office is prepared to open and see patients once authorization is given
        • Reach out to your patients personally – homework for the Doctor
          • Now is the perfect time to give an added personal touch by calling some of your patients. The elderly or high-risk patients will be particularly appreciative to receive a call from their dentist. Let them know you are thinking about them and their families. Make sure they know you are available in the event of an emergency.   Assure them that your team members are healthy and looking forward to taking care of them. 
          • These patients will forever remember you as the dentist that took the time to call them in the middle of a pandemic.  Priceless!
        • Reopening the office
          • Notify all patients the office has reopened
          • Notify vendors and confirm you have all supplies necessary for a full schedule
          • Notify referring doctors
          • Confirm your first two weeks of appointments
          • Day before practice opens – At a minimum, schedule a half day for your team to meet at the practice in preparation for the first patient day.

For more ideas click on this link:  Fortune Practice Management Opportunity Checklist

Free CE Credit Opportunities: Dental Intel is providing three days of webinars; including many of the speakers that were scheduled to speak at Hinman; up to 20 CE’s

If your company is new to working remotely, these resources offer some quick (and cheap) ways to get started:

  • GoToMeetingis offering free Emergency Remote Work Kits to help businesses transition to working remotely so your team stays productive and connected.
  • Zoomis providing additional resources in light of the Coronavirus. They offer free lessons on how to use their tools and video conferencing to collaborate effectively with team members.

We hope you find these tools beneficial in developing a plan to make the best use of this time and as a result of this experience emerge a stronger unified team. Challenge yourself to stay positive and optimistic and know we are here for you every step of the way.

Liz Berchtold
Executive Coach/Managing Partner
Fortune Practice Management