As some states are beginning to reopen normal activities, dental practices are anxious to reopen their practices to non-urgent care. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to prepare for when it comes time to reopen the doors to your practice.
1. Shift Your Mindset
Now is the perfect time to think through some important questions like where your practice has been, where it is going, and what your patients are going to need to see and hear in order to feel comfortable coming back to your practice. What needs to be done before you can safely reopen your practice? What will be done differently? What must be communicated and how in order to instill confidence in patients and staff? When your practice reopens, it will be in a post-COVID-19 world, where the old normal will no longer exist. Your practice needs to be safer than ever before when it comes to infection prevention. These are all things to consider before you reopen your doors and there is no better time than now to make some much needed changes.
2. Communicate With Your Employees
As some dental practices begin plans to reopen and provide non-emergency services, the American Dental Association (ADA) is urging dentists to have robust communication and engage their dental team members to address any concerns related to returning to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Good communication is the key to making patients and the dental team comfortable as they return to our offices. Dental team members who are confident that their office is keeping up with all appropriate prevention measures will convey that confidence to patients,” said Dr. Chad P. Gehani, ADA president.
3. Invest in Infection Control and Prevention
Since it will be fresh in most everyone’s minds, start with a review of your infection prevention policies. If your practice does not have an infection prevention and control coordinator, now is a great time to appoint one so they can use this time to complete additional training and prepare any protocol updates.
Consider an infection control coordinator as they can help set protocol for screening patients with respiratory symptoms and/or exposure to respiratory infections as well as adding and updating infection prevention information on the practice website and social media accounts.
It is also a good time to update OSHA and HIPAA training for the whole team in addition to doing a thorough review and update of PPE policy. This will be critical to returning to normal practice with a robust and clearly communicated approach to infection prevention.
4. Social Media, Social Media, Social Media!
The more digitally focused the world becomes, the more it becomes apparent that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are not just channels for sharing memories and funny pictures. They are channels businesses can use to discover new clients, interact with prospects and build a bigger brand name. It is becoming increasingly more important for businesses to have a social media presence and here’s why:
- Keeps your office name in front of your patients beyond their appointments
- Helps you establish trust and authority among your followers
- Gives you an outlet to share educative and informative dental health information so your patients, and other followers, know how to better care for their teeth
- Promotes specials, discounts and in-house dental plans to patients and others online
- Helps you acquire new patients who may never have heard of your office
- Gives your office a face and personality to help your patients get to know you, beyond the hour they spend in your office once or twice a year
- Provides another avenue to compete with your competitors. Odds are, your competitors are already on social media
Navigating your return to dental practices will be filled with many challenges so it is important to have a plan moving forward. If you are going to make changes to your practice, there is no better time than now before your doors are open and you no longer have time to do it. As always, NuLife Long Island is here if you have any questions or need support during these difficult times!