Dental Office Tips and Suggestions Regarding COVID-19

Dental Office Tips and Suggestions Regarding COVID-19

Hello Friends,

With the Government guidelines and regulations regarding COVID-19 rapidly changing, it has been especially challenging for dental practices to know what the best way is to care for and protect their employees and their patients.

Earlier today I shared some suggestions, tips, and advice regarding COVID-19 with my coaching clients via emails and calls but I thought you all might find the information helpful as well so I am sharing here too.

While we don’t want to contribute to the panic that is happening all around us or create more fear in our patients’ lives – we need to be able to effectively communicate how we are following recommendations to keep employees and patients safe and healthy.

My biggest recommendation to you is to take a deep breath, remain calm and think before you act and make any decisions for yourself, the office, your employees, and your patients.

Some offices are choosing to remain open while others are closed due to State-mandated closures and/or strongly recommended suspension of nonessential and nonurgent dental care for 14 days.

Coronavirus Dental Practice Tips and Ideas from Dental Coach Betty Hayden

UPDATE: I know that many dental offices have made the decision to close the practice to all non-emergency appointments. Several have reached out to me asking what they can do to still be productive during this time to help grow and improve the practice. If you would like a list of recommended and suggested tasks and things to do during this “downtime” – please send me an email at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will get that out to you. 

Here are some questions, tips, and suggestions to consider whether you remain open, are at a reduced schedule, or are closed…

If you Remain Open:

  • Who can work and when?
  • Will you continue seeing hygiene patients?
  • Will you reduce the hours or days worked?
  • Will you
  • What will you say to patients calling with concerns?
  • How will you care for emergencies?
  • What is a true dental emergency?
  • What happens if an employee or the doctor gets sick?
  • What happens if a patient comes in for their appt and you suspect they are sick?
  • Do you have the supplies necessary to care for your scheduled patients?
  • Be sure that you hold times in the schedule to accommodate reschedules, emergencies, and NP’s
  • What happens if you need to close the office? Do you have a written protocol?
  • Do your automated electronic appointment reminders need to be adjusted?

If you Close the Office:

  • Who is responsible for rescheduling appointments? And what is the scripting?
  • Where will you reappoint the patients?
  • Do you need to pause your automated electronic appointment reminder system?
  • When will you reopen?
  • Who will answer the office telephone calls?
  • Do some employees still work in the office?  Who and what are their tasks?
  • Who will collect the mail? Who will post checks?
  • How will your employees be paid?

 Patient Communication

Write down what to say regarding:

  • Rescheduling Patients Appts
  • Patients Calling to Cancel/Reschedule
  • Patient Safety Protocols
  • Patients in the office with symptoms of illness
  • Patients that want to delay treatment
  • Office Closures
  • What is a dental emergency?
  • Preventive dental health home-care tips

The biggest thing to remember when communicating with your patients – is to reassure them that their safety and the safety of your employees is of utmost importance. By now, they all know what is going on and it’s no secret that big adjustments are being made all over. If any appointments need to be rescheduled, assure them you are making arrangements so they won’t have to wait too long for an appointment. Be real with them but don’t cause any unnecessary panic. It’s best to keep messages simple and helpful.

In-Office Appointments

  • Patients should not come to the office if they have any cold/flu-like symptoms.
  • Request that patients call or text from their car when they’ve arrived for their appt.
  • Advise patients to not bring in anyone else with them to their appt.
  • Remove from the reception room any difficult to clean items (books, magazines, toys, beverage station items, etc).
  • To minimize exposure, avoid having patients stop at the front desk at appointment arrival and dismissal. Rather, do all that you can from the treatment room (ie: Scheduling and Collecting Payments).
  • Make the most of each appointment – Continue to provide the very best experiences for every patient. If you can care for any diagnosed treatment needs while they’re there instead of reappointing them that would be great.

Stay in Touch

  • Patients with scheduled appts – reach out to your scheduled patients with what you’re doing to help keep them safe at their appt.
  • Older Patients – Check in on your elderly patients to see how they are doing.
  • Appointments – Keep careful track of all cancelations, broken appts, and reschedules!  We don’t want any patients slipping through any cracks
  • Social Media – Use your social media platforms to stay in touch with your patients as well as with potential patients. SEE Dental Practice Social Media Platform Tips and Content Ideas.
  • Create short Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram videos with at-home preventive dental care tips and a video or post(s) to answer the questions: what is a dental emergency?/ what to do in a dental emergency?

  During Downtime or Office Closures

  • External and Internal Marketing Plans (critically important for the growth of the practice especially in times like this) – Create your plan to exceed current patients’ expectations, welcome more new patients, retain and reactivate patients, as well as build relationships within the community.  SEE Dentist Office Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for April 2020
  • Office Cleaning and Organization – SEE Is Your Dental Office Pastdue For A Cleaning?
  • Continuing Education and Training – spend some time together as a team to watch dental education webinars and on-line courses, team role-play, and create and refine new office protocols, and systems.

Employee Illness Policy

Employees experiencing influenza-like-illness (ILI) (fever with either cough or sore throat, muscle aches) should not report to work.

What is your policy for employees who become ill?

Who will cover for that employee and how?

Doctor Illness

If the doctor is diagnosed with COVID-19 (or any illness suspected of possibly being COVID-19) what is your plan for patient care?

Temp Employment Agencies

Even if you don’t have a need right now to use a temp agency you may need one soon. Who do you call? How do they work? It would be wise for you to create detailed job descriptions and protocols for each department should you need to bring someone in temporarily.

Supplies

Do you have the necessary supplies to care for your scheduled patients? If not, are you able to obtain the supplies in time?

Remote Computer Access

Should the office be closed, are you prepared to access your PMS at home? Who can access this information?

Employees working from home

What is expected of the team over the period working from home?

Which jobs and tasks are essential, and which can wait?

Overhead

Now is a good time to review all overhead expenses.  Evaluate all categories for any possible reduction opportunities.   If you don’t know your overhead percentages or recommended benchmarks I strongly encourage you to learn this information.

Review your business interruption coverage

Do you know the details of your insurance policies? Immediately speak to your insurance expert and get detailed information about your business interruption coverage.  What is covered?  What is the amount of coverage?  What is the deductible?  When does it kick in?  A 14-day interruption for self-quarantine might not be covered.

I understand that this most likely doesn’t answer all of your questions and concerns but I hope it does help some.

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month! Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email each month? If not, please start following us today. If you prefer, send me your email address (to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Sending you wishes for health, safety, and much happiness!

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

UPDATE: I know that many dental offices have made the decision to close the practice to all non-emergency appointments. Several have reached out to me asking what they can do to still be productive during this time to help grow and improve the practice. If you would like a list of recommended and suggested tasks and things to do during this “downtime” – please send me an email at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will get that out to you. 

Dental Coach Betty Hayden Tips and Ideas to improve dentist office

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Dentist Office Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for March 2020

Dentist Office Leadership, Management, and Marketing Tips and Ideas for March 2020

Hello, Friends –

The month of March is the final month of your first quarter. There is still time to make this your best quarter ever! Spend some time reviewing your numbers, your plans for how to reach your goals, and ways to continually improve your office during the year.

With March being Employee Spirit Month it’s also a great month to celebrate your dental team! (Well, isn’t every month a great month to celebrate your team?)

Here are a few Dental Leadership, Practice Management and Marketing Ideas for March to get you started:

 

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Coach Dentist Office Ideas

 Leadership Tips and Ideas ~

“Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton

National Dentists Day: March 6th   – Spend today celebrating the awesome dentists’ in your life! Be sure to take a picture(s) of your dentist(s) to post on your social media pages with a message of appreciation.

dentists day dental practice management dental coaching

National Dental Assistants Recognition Week: 1st – 7th  – This is the week to celebrate your hard-working assistants! Be sure to take a picture(s) of your assistants to post on your social media pages with a message of appreciation.

Employee Spirit Month – If you want to increase employee trust, creativity, teamwork, engagement, and productivity, then it’s time to have some fun, commend more, improve communication and huddle up!

Dental Morning Huddle Tips and Ideas

Dental Team Building Activities, Rewards, and Incentive Tips and Ideas

I can help! Learn how to lead your team, creating greatness based on high-performance expectations and principles. Produce more, Collect more, Stress-less, and have more Fun!

Schedule your complimentary no-obligation 30-minute coaching consultation today at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Practice Management Tips and Ideas ~

March is an especially important month for any of you that typically struggle with your schedule during the month of September (AKA Sucktember).

Pre-Appointments – Be sure to pre-appoint your March hygiene patients for their 6-month continuing care appointments. (If this isn’t already being done with your hygiene patients, make it your goal to schedule their next appt. while they are there in the office.)

By the way, do you know your patient’s pre-appointment percentage?  If not, that is a smart number to start tracking to improve your patient retention.

If you don’t know how to track this number and your PMS is either Dentrix, Open Dental, or Eaglesoft – I can get you these numbers. At this time, we can also give you a complimentary growth report. It’s simple: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence

Dental Marketing Tips & Ideas for the month of March ~

Celebrate Your Name Week: 1-7 – Here is a simple and fun idea for “celebrate your name week”. During this week each working day post 3-5 names on your office Facebook page and Instagram page and people with those names can stop by the office to pick up a new toothbrush. Seriously, it won’t cost you much money, it will encourage people to share the post (your office info) to their social media pages, and it will bring in potential new patients into your practice!

Educational Opportunity –

National Kidney Month – Good dental health isn’t just about preventing cavities and keeping your gums healthy. Both tooth decay and gum disease can lead to infections that can cause problems for people with kidney disease.  A study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology reported that people with kidney disease and those on dialysis are more likely to have periodontal disease and other oral health problems than the general population.

Social Media Post Ideas to Improve Engagement during the month of March ~

World Compliment Day 1st

Oreo Cookie Day 6th

Daylight Savings Time 8th

Lips Appreciation Day 16th

Kick Butts Day 20th

Spinach Day 26th 

Betty Hayden Dental Social Media Contact Spinach Day

What are your plans to make March a great month? Please share your plans and ideas with me!

I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me here on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.

Don’t miss out on any of the ideas that I share each month! Are you receiving my complimentary Practice Management and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please start following us today.  If you prefer, send me your email address at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will send you an invitation to follow my blog.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty – Dental Coach

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

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Dental Patient Reactivation and Reappointment Tips and Ideas

Dental Patient Reactivation and Reappointment Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

Have you scheduled for some R & R in the new year? No, I’m not talking about rest & relaxation (although, you definitely want to schedule for that 😉 ) – the R & R that I am referring to is your patient reactivation and reappointments.  Why is this so important?

Because when your patients are healthy – your practice is healthy.  For your patients to smile healthy they need to schedule the treatment you’ve diagnosed and to come in regularly for their hygiene continuing care appointments.

Last year did you struggle with any of the following?

  • Low treatment plan acceptance from your patients.
  • Not knowing your active and inactive patient numbers.
  • Hygiene continuing care reports were a nightmare.
  • Too many holes in the schedule.
  • Poor treatment presentation skills.
  • Too many patients left the practice and you don’t know why.
  • Not enough time to keep your office social media sites current.

Don’t struggle another minute, plan now to make 2020 your BEST year yet! Get whatever help and training you need and want to make the necessary improvements. Feel free to contact me for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com to see if a coaching relationship is right for you.

Today, I’d like to help you tackle one of those struggles… your inactive and unscheduled patients. Let’s reactivate all of your patients that haven’t been in for one year or longer and schedule your active patients that are currently unscheduled.

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Patient Reactivation Letter and ideas

The start of the new year is a great time to make a plan for reactivating and reappointing your patients…. (attack that File Cabinet…or computer patient database!)

Ideally, daily, weekly and monthly efforts should be made to develop and maintain relationships with your patients in order to keep them active.

The best way to keep your patients active is to be sure to reappoint them for their next hygiene visit when they are there at the office. Also, help more of your patients say yes to your treatment recommendations and have them reserve their appointment at the time of treatment presentation. You should be tracking both your pre-appointments and your re-appointments.  This is important if you want to reduce patient attrition and reduce the amount of money and time spent trying to reach these patients later on down the road.

Quick Side Note: Friends, if you do not know what your office numbers look like, or how many of your active patients are unscheduled, and so many other important key practice indicators; please take note of what those numbers look like. That is the only way to successfully grow your practice. You need to know where you’re at currently to know what your potential for growth is. To help you get that data quickly, like within minutes – if your PMS is either Dentrix, Eaglesoft, or Open Dental you can request a complimentary, no-obligation practice data snapshot here: Game-Changing Awareness from Dental Intelligence  – Within minutes we’ll identify your practice’s strengths and uncover hidden opportunities.

Now, back to Reappointments and Reactivations…

Control the Schedule – Same-day cancelations attempts and broken appointments must be handled effectively. The goal is to greatly reduce the number of same-day schedule changes and for the appointments that you can’t save be sure to reschedule them while the patient is still on the phone. (Unless of course, they’re a habitual offender!) See more tips here: How to Reduce Same Day Dental Appointment Cancellations and No Shows

However, if for whatever reason your inactive patient database is growing (you are tracking this, right?) – take steps now to welcome those patients back into the schedule. You can start by reaching out to them with a We Miss You reactivation letter and email.

If you would like a sample letter that you can customize to your practice for your patients – feel free to request one at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Some suggestions for your letter are:

  • Include a deadline to respond.
  • Use a handwritten colored envelope (Grab their attention!).
  • Have two offers: One for your patient and one for a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor.
  • Make a call to the patients about a week after mailing the letter.
  • Be sure to document all attempts at contacting the patient and the response.
  • Include Social Media & Office Contact Information.

I hope that these tips and ideas are helpful to you.

I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review/recommendation for me on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK.    Thank you very much!!

Friends, schedule some R & R and make it a GREAT Year!

Are you receiving my free Dental Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please follow today or send me (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

P.S. Please stop by and say hello to me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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Tips and Ideas for Successful Monthly Dental Team Meetings

Tips and Ideas for Successful Monthly Dental Team Meetings

Hello Friends,

How do you feel about monthly team meetings? Do you avoid them? Do you feel like they’re a waste of time? If you do, you’re not alone. In fact, I may have heard a few doctors say they’d rather… go to the dentist than conduct a team meeting. 😉 Sorry, that was bad.  It is true though that many people have had enough bad meetings that they dread team meetings to the point of not having them at all.

Why are regular team meetings so important?  Because when conducted effectively they help to keep the team all on the same page and working toward the same goals and mission which leads to success.  Isn’t that what we all want?

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Coach

Which reminds me – in addition to monthly team meetings, daily huddles are critical to having more productive, happier, and less stressful work-days. If you’re not holding daily huddles or if you need some ideas to help them be more effective please visit here: Dental Office Morning Huddle Agenda Tips and Ideas

Some offices choose to conduct more frequent team meetings and/or weekly department meetings and that is totally fine but knowing that so many offices are not regularly conducting monthly meetings or not even yearly meetings – we’re taking baby steps here by recommending they get started with monthly team meetings.

Here are some tips and ideas to help you conduct effective monthly meetings.

how to conduct effective dental team meetings

Schedule – Schedule your monthly team meetings well in advance.  If we don’t reserve some time each month for the meetings life tends to get in the way and crowd out any opportunities to meet as a team.

How much time should you reserve? Ideally, one and a half to a two-hour block of time but if you can’t spare that much time to start, reserve one hour.

Assigned Leader – Rotate who leads the monthly meetings so it isn’t always the same person.  There is no reason for the meetings to only be conducted by the doctor or the office manager. Give everyone on the team the opportunity to take the lead on this.

Preparation – Post the date of the next team meeting as well as an agenda sheet. Encourage the team to add to the agenda.  All team members should arrive at the meeting on time and prepared to contribute.

At the start of the meeting record:

  • Today’s Date:
  • Team Member’s Present:
  • The meeting note-taker is:
  • Meeting time-keeper is:
  • Who will pass notes to team members not present:
  • Next months meeting will be conducted by:

TO BE CONSIDERED

Open with Positive Comments & Commendation (2-5 minutes)

  • Each employee must contribute a positive comment/experience about someone or something in the office.

Role Play / Training (5 minutes) – Topic Suggestions: Telephones, Treatment Plans, Financial Presentations, Hand-Off, New Product/Service, Etc.

Agenda Items (15 minutes) Topic, Name of Person, the Estimated time needed to discuss

Note: If you see that there is an agenda item written down to be discussed at your next team meeting and it is something that can be handled prior to the meeting or it is something that needs to be addressed with an individual employee please don’t save it for the team meeting – take care of it now.

Growth – Ideas for Improvement  (5 minutes)

Potential Stumbling Blocks – Concerns (remember to bring a solution with your concern) (5 minutes)

Numbers – Goals Vs How We’re Doing (5 minutes)

  • Production
  • Production Per Visit
  • Collections
  • Pre Appointment Percentage
  • Reviews
  • New Patients
  • Daily Open Chair Time

What’s Going On – Office News/ Office Happenings (2 minutes)

Marketing & Relationship Building – Marketing Status & Upcoming Plans  (5 minutes)

Action Items –  What? Who? When?  What is the Action Item? Who is responsible for making sure it happens? When will it be completed or is it ongoing?

Have you ever decided to implement a new idea and nothing ever happens with it? Most often this is because the expectations weren’t clearly defined and no one was assigned to see it through to completion.  We must work together to gently hold each other accountable for accomplishing the action items.

Meeting Conclusion – Closing Commendation & Positive/Happy Video or Quote – each month a different team member is assigned to contribute the next meeting’s positive/happy quote or video.

A few more tips and ideas…

Atmosphere – The atmosphere for these meetings should be warm and welcoming. This is a safe space where team members aren’t afraid to share their thoughts and ideas.

Stay in Control and on Topic – If you find that the team is going off-topic or a subject is taking longer to discuss than planned, please either bring everyone back on track and/or move that subject/topic to be discussed at a later date.   It is all too easy to lose control if we are over-discussing a topic because we don’t have 100% agreement from all team members… that’s not likely to happen so make a decision and move on.

Employee Conduct – Everyone not only arrives at the meeting on time, but they are also prepared to contribute.  Cell phones should be put on silent and away. We respect the person talking by not talking over them, not interrupting them or whispering to another employee.  Oh, and this isn’t the time to catch a quick nap.

The start of the new year is the perfect time to create a new habit for the team – regular monthly team meetings!   If you have questions or concerns about monthly team meetings – please reach out to me. I’m happy to help.

What are your practice goals for 2020? I would love the opportunity to work along with you and your team to help you set and exceed your practice goals. If you would like to schedule a complimentary telephone consultation to learn how our coaching program works, please email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Are you receiving my free Dental Leadership, Practice Management, and Marketing Ideas in your email inbox each month? If not, please follow today or send me (bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com) your email address and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea.

Yours for Greater Success,

~Betty

dental practice tips and ideas from Betty Hayden Consulting

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