As you plan to follow the new safety guidelines for opening your dental practice during the Covid-19 pandemic, do your patients know what you are doing? Does your team feel confident? Communication is key.
In our previous blog post, we discussed Dr. Jonathan B. Levine's recent webinar "Survival or Reinvention: Your Choice!" where he talked about creating a safe haven for your patients and your team to replace fears with optimism and growth. Right now, your patients are excited about their dentist being able to see patients, but there is still that bit of anxiety around safety. The good thing is you are taking it seriously. You're reading this now because you want to make sure you're building a quality business with a team culture that is willing to adapt and move forward. To do this, you need to communicate, communicate, communicate not only with your team but with your patients as well.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I communicated with my patients about how my office will look and operate via email, actively on social media, video, and phone?
- Have I made sure my team understands the steps my practice is taking, their role in it, and that they can communicate it effectively to my patients? Doing so will reassure my team of the new procedures, which will make them feel safer, too.
- Can my team explain these steps in simple language with confidence when speaking to patients while confirming or rebooking appointments? You could create a brief one-page summary, so your team speaks uniformly.
- Have I made sure that once the patient arrives, their experience matches what we've been communicating?
- Have I given my patients a reason to want to come back now instead of delaying? Hint: Offer a teeth whitening special with every hygiene appointment!
Additionally, be sure that you are implementing and following all the necessary guidelines so that your team and your patients feel confident, such as:
- No waiting room (patients wait in their car and you text when ready) and/or a socially-distanced waiting room free of any communal materials.
- Reminded patients that a mask is required before entering.
- Make sure there is hand sanitizer when the patients enter and check their temperature.
- Have patients take a pre-treatment questionnaire when booking and immediately before the appointment. Patients who want to come in for treatment should be sent a copy of the ADA Patient Screening Form; if a patient answers yes to any of the questions, you may want to consider postponing any elective treatments until a later date.
- Have a pre-treatment hydrogen peroxide rinse such as GLO Science ECO Balance that includes 1.4% hydrogen peroxide (an ingredient recommended by the ADA for its virucidal properties), baking soda, xylitol, and CPC. It is 8x more effective at reducing gingival bleeding than brushing and flossing alone.
- Check that you are equipped with all the proper PPE, which will vary depending on the exposure risk from low (administrative) to very high (performing aerosol-generating procedures). Because PPE shortages are a challenge, this is another reason to pre-screen patients and staff. And if you are low on PPE, consider teledentistry for non-emergency patients so that they are still receiving treatment on time.
- Continue to take infection control measures and full sanitization of treatment rooms between each patient.
This is a challenging time, and it is vital to protect your relationships so your practice can thrive. Drive the quality of the conversation and continue to communicate with your team and patients. Together we can work through and help you re-invent your dental practice for our new normal.
We want to hear from you! How are you GLOing strong during this time? Do you need any additional information? Let GLO know, and we'll do our best to help.