The dental industry has felt the effects of COVID-19 first hand. With non-essential procedures put on hold, practices have been significantly impacted by changes in how to provide care during a global pandemic.
There's some good news on the horizon. States are beginning to unveil plans for the re-opening of businesses, and you have probably started planning for how your practice will operate in this new normal as well.
Whether your practice remains temporarily closed or is in the initial stages of re-opening, there are many things you can do to help ensure a safe and smooth transition.
Keep Staff in the Loop- It's easy to isolate during social distancing, which is why it's crucial to communicate frequently with staff. Not only does it help boost morale, but hearing from you regularly will provide reassurance of what to expect in the future. It's an excellent time to review protocols, anticipated timelines, and share any pertinent clinical information. Even just a simple hello or check-in can go a long way in helping you and your team stay connected. It’s also critical for you to understand how each staff member is feeling, whether there have been any changes that may impact their ability to return to work, and any concerns they have so that you can consider them in your planning.
Use Various Methods to Reach Out to Patients- Social media, emails, and phone calls are all effective ways of connecting. Explain how missed appointments will be rebooked and provide an outline of what care will look like in the future. It's also a good idea to share pictures of how you and your staff are preparing to re-open the office. Providing an easy and accessible way for patients to contact you with any questions or concerns (and responding promptly) goes a long way in maintaining trust. It is also critical for patients to know what measures you are taking in your practice to keep them safe so that they will feel comfortable coming in for care.
Begin Outlining New Office Standards and Protocols- You may still be operating remotely or planning to be back in the office shortly, and we know safety is at the forefront of your mind. Here are a few recommendations to reduce the risk of infection while keeping patients safe as well:
- Review infection prevention policies with staff. The CDC has outlined this within its Infection Prevention Checklist.
- Review HIPPA and PPE policies with staff and ensure a sufficient supply of PPE in your practice.
- Conduct patient screenings before visits. Consider incorporating screening questions into your appointment confirmation calls or sending a checklist before their appointment in addition to screening once they arrive.
- Consider a slower start and not running at full capacity too soon. Each appointment will likely take more time than before, and patients need to know that visits will be managed to accommodate social distancing.
Have a Flexible Vision- It might be difficult to accept that your practice will not operate in the same way. But it will still be possible to provide patients with the same level of care, if not better, than before. The same goes for the relationship you have with your staff. Use this time to reflect on past successes and failures, then use them as a driving force to come back stronger.
Here at GLO, we remain committed to keeping you up to date with all current ADA and CDC recommendations. With information changing rapidly, we also encourage you to refer to their websites for up-to-date guidelines. We’re also continuing to update our business and products accordingly so we can assist you in providing your patients with healthy, GLOing smiles and better oral hygiene from home and your office.