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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The Dentists’ Masterclass – How Coaching Can Bring Success to Your Practice

Hello Friends,

Each month I share fun and effective practice management and marketing ideas to help you grow your practices. (Did you catch the tips and ideas for September? If not, check them out here: Dental Office Tips and Ideas for September)

My goal is always to help you produce more, collect more, increase new patient numbers, consistently exceed patients’ expectations, build relationships within the community, stress-less, and have more fun as a team!

Doctors, if you want to grow your dental practice and have considered hiring a consultant or coach to help you get where you want to be or perhaps you hired a consultant or coach in the past with little to no positive results or growth, I have a very special & free event for you!

Free Masterclass at The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success
All Day, Friday, September 14, 2018 

This day will be an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to meet all of us and figure out some ways to grow their practice. And there is no charge at all except getting yourself to Baltimore, Maryland. But there are two important things you need to know…

1) The Dentists’ Masterclass is for docs only. A doctor may bring a significant other or a key team member, but no team members may attend without the doc.

2) There will be lots of learning, brainstorming, practice troubleshooting, etc. But this course is intended only for those who are serious about working with us as their coaches. It’s not for “tire-kickers!” We would love to be right by your side on the road to excellence.

Whether you have used a coach in the past, are in a horrible relationship with one right now, or have tossed around the idea of using one in the future…

This Masterclass is for YOU!

The entire day will be spent close up and personal with yours truly (Betty Hayden -lead coach at The Madow Center), Dr. David Madow, Dr. Richard Madow, coach Kelly Lynch, and more!

Here are some of the things you will learn at your Masterclass:

  • The most common mistake dentists make when trying to grow their practices!
  • Why hiring a coach can be a very expensive blunder if you don’t know what you are doing!
  • How to set goals and actually reach them very quickly!
  • Why some patients never return for their recommended treatment (or never return at all)!
  • The extreme importance of team (and doctor) accountability, and why it can be so difficult to achieve!
  • And MUCH, MUCH MORE!

We want to hear about your dreams and goals. We want to hear your struggles. We will listen closely. You may share anything with us and it will all remain confidential.

Myself and coach Kelly will share some of our strategies as well as success stories. You will hear exactly how we are able to take practices that have plateaued or “flatlined” right out of their slumps – then grow them like crazy.

Free Masterclass at The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success
All Day, Friday, September 14, 2018 

You can ask questions. You can mastermind with all of us as well as other like-minded dentists in attendance. It’s a day to really dig deep and determine if you are ready to really GROW!

And most importantly: In our Masterclass you will be able to see what it takes on your end to work with us as your coaches. How we can grow your practice, from start to finish. You will be surprised how easy it actually is! This will be a full day, and we are betting this could actually turn out to be the most important days of your life!

Here are the details:

“The Dentists’ Masterclass – How Coaching Can Bring Success to Your Practice”

Date: Friday, September 14, 2018

Time: 9:00 AM until we finish. We may decide to have dinner together so don’t plan to leave early! This is a once in a lifetime chance to hang out with people who are willing and able to help you!

Location: The Madow Center for Dental Practice Success, Baltimore, Maryland.

Cost: Free. You get here, we take care of the rest!

Note: Attendance at this Masterclass will be strictly limited. We want to keep the group small and intimate. Please register now to guarantee your spot.

How to register: Just click here to reserve your spot

If you have any questions about this Masterclass, please feel free to email me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

Look forward to meeting you in person!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

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Dental Employee Conflict Resolution Tips and Ideas

Dental Employee Conflict Resolution Tips and Ideas

Hello Friends,

The month of April is Workplace Conflict Awareness Month – 

This is a topic that should be discussed at a team meeting. Why? Conflict Happens! Make a plan and an agreement as to how all office conflict will be addressed and resolved.

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Team Conflict Resolution

Steps to deal with office conflict:

  1. Calm down and talk with the other person. (Don’t go to anyone else to discuss the conflict.)
  2. Attack the problem, not the person. Focus on behaviors and events.
  3. Listen carefully – listen to understand and not to be understood.
  4. Brainstorm solutions with a focus on the future, what it will take to move forward.
  5. Celebrate your Success.

For additional ideas visit Forbes.com for 5- Keys to Dealing with Workplace Conflict. 

To manage conflict, Excellent Communication is Essential.

Communication  – 

  • Job descriptions and expectations must be clearly defined. This is a great time to ask every team member to write a list of their job description and responsibilities. Have them indicate next to each task how often it is done (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, varies, etc.). This will help you determine if and when and by whom these tasks are being accomplished. You might find some important tasks are not being done at all or not often enough and so on.  

  • Team Meetings/Morning Huddles are essential for a happy and smooth work day. Visit HERE for some tips on how you can have a successful morning huddle.

  • Address quickly any needed discipline or correction, don’t wait for a staff meeting to address these problems. Instead, meet one on one with the offender.

  • Avoid office negativity, it’s toxic and will infect your team – Rather, focus on and share positive experiences.
  • Your team must know the why, what, and how. They may know the what and the how but not the why, often times, this is why employees are there just to collect a paycheck. Talk about what you believe and attract those who believe what you believe. People buy the why not the what. 
  • Positive Gossip Only! Entire team agrees to stop gossip. Refuse to listen to it. Rather, encourage the person to go directly to the other person they have an issue or complaint about. Unless of course, they can let it go and move on

In addition to communication, Proper Training is Imperative–  Don’t hold back in this area! Invest in your team. Thoroughly train any new employees on your practice goals, systems, software, telephone skills, dental procedures, protocols, etc.  However, training isn’t just for your new employees, everyone in the office needs regular training. This leads me to the next point…

Continuing Education – Continuing education, not just for the providers but for the entire team is a wonderful way to ensure practice growth. Not to mention, it’s a great team-building experience, one that will give you a happier and motivated team. Think about this, your administrative team is the first and last impression made on each and every one of your patients. This includes potential patients that call your office. Certainly, you want to have the very best training and education for not only your clinical team but your administrative team too. You can do this with in-office training, webinars, lunch and learns, and seminars/classes outside of the office.

For example, have you heard about The Best Seminar Ever? Better known as TBSE? For real, I attended TBSE last year and it absolutely was the best seminar I have ever been to. If you’re ready to boost your team and take your practice to the next level, please check it out here: TBSE -The Best Seminar Ever

It is my wish that these ideas and tips will help you and your team experience greater happiness at work without unnecessary negative conflict. If you have any questions or concerns about what you’ve read today or would like to set up a complimentary telephone consultation to learn how I can help your office grow and succeed, please contact me at bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com.

If you enjoy the complimentary ideas that I share each month, I would love and truly appreciate for you to please leave a review on GOOGLE and/or FACEBOOK

Have you signed up to receive my complimentary dental marketing and practice management ideas that are sent right to your email inbox each month? If not, take a second and sign up. Or send me your email address and I will send you an invite 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 FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Pinterest

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Spring Clean Your Dental Office Using Your 5 Senses

Spring Clean Your Dental Office Using Your 5 Senses

Hello Friends,

It’s that time of year when many take advantage of the warmer weather to “spring clean” their homes. This is also a great time to spring clean your dental practice.

I encourage you to make a checklist of all the areas in your office that need some spring cleaning.  I’ll help you get started by showing you how to take advantage of using your 5 senses while cleaning your office. This is by no means an exhaustive cleaning list but it will you give you ideas of where and what to clean.

Betty Hayden Consulting Dental Marketing and Practice Management Ideas

Sight, Smell, Sound, Touch, and Taste.

SIGHT

What do your patients and potential patients see?

Areas to “see” include;

  1. Office Exterior
  • Signage
  • Windows
  • Landscape/Weeds
  • Garbage/Debris
  • Safety Concerns/Handicap accessibility
  1. Office Interior
  • Reception Room – Sit in your reception room, what do your patients see, touch, hear, smell and taste? Look high and low. What do you see? Dirty carpeting/flooring? Outdated magazines & decor? Stained or worn chairs? Peeling wallpaper? Cobwebs? Dusty plants/floral arrangements? Light bulbs that are out?  Look over at the front desk area, if you see a sliding glass window that is full of signs and papers telling your patients what to do and what not to do…remove them immediately! In fact, remove the glass. It’s very unwelcoming!
  • Restroom – Most if not all of your patients that visit your restroom WILL determine the quality and safety of your care from that experience. (Isn’t that true of you when you’re at a restaurant or any public restroom? No one wants the gas station bathroom experience…not even when you’re at a gas station.) Your restroom should be clean, nicely decorated and well stocked with quality paper products and soap.
  • Front Desk Area – Clutter represents indecisions. Make a decision to get rid of the clutter! (That includes any sticky notes attached to computer monitors, coats/sweaters hanging on the backs of chairs and fast-food drink containers sitting out on the counters.) Purchase hot/cold beverage tumblers, preferably with your office logo on them for your team members to use at their workstations – this looks much nicer than your patients seeing soda bottles or coffee shop cups.

While you’re visiting the front desk area, don’t forget about cleaning these areas too…

  • Current Protocols–  Hygiene Continuing Care, Incomplete Treatment Reports, Confirmation, A/R-Collections, Greetings, Patient Hand-off,  New Patient Welcomes, and Referral Thank you’s, etc.
  • Paper Communication Materials –Intake forms, Letterhead, HIPAA forms, Financial Policy & Postcards.
  • Job Responsibilities/Descriptions –Have every team member write down a detailed list of all of their job responsibilities. This is VERY helpful in determining more effective ways of doing things as well as finding out what is NOT being done.
  • Operatories – Sit in the treatment room chairs. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell? How do you feel? Again, your patients don’t measure the quality of care, they measure the quality of their experience. Keep your patients loyal to your practice by making certain they consistently have great experiences.
  • Closets – Make an inventory checklist. Throw away any expired or outdated products, equipment, manuals, etc. While you’re at it, if there is anything that isn’t be used properly due to lack of education or training, go ahead and schedule time for continuing education/training.
  •  Equipment/Technology – What needs repairs, upgrades or to be tossed? Computers, Software, Internet Speed & Access, Printers, Copiers, Telephone Systems, TV’s, Postage machines, including…dare I say, typewriters?
  • The Team – Appearance – Wear clothes that reflect the excellent care you give your patients. Professional, clean, and wrinkle-free clothes.  Clean hair, nails & body). Attitudes – Remove any toxic attitudes. Office Policies – Review and update employee benefits and expectations.

TIP: Make a cleaning schedule – who, what & when will the parking lot, restrooms & reception room be checked. This should be done several times throughout the day. Do not wait for the “cleaning person” to take care of those areas.

SMELL

  • Get rid of the dreaded dental office smell. There are products out there that will eliminate that smell without aggravating patients with allergies. Bake chocolate chip cookies if necessary.

SOUND

  • Keep the noise down! Patients want to be put at ease; they don’t want to hear the latest office gossip or a TV that is too loud. Avoid using patients’ full names or complaining about patients when you can be heard from the reception room or treatment chair.
  • Music – Consider playing music in the reception and treatment rooms. Wireless headphones will allow patients’ to listen to music or the TV while in the chair.
  • Telephone Greetings/Messages – What do your patients and potential patients’ “hear” when calling the office? Be sure that what they hear is a reflection of your goals and vision. See How To Effectively Answer The Dental Office Telephone

TASTE

  • Beverage Station in the reception room. Complimentary coffee, tea, cold bottled water, juice, etc. See this Pinterest board for beverage station design ideas.
  • Snacks – Offer snacks such as fruit, granola bars, etc. This is especially nice for patients that may have been in for a lengthy appointment and need a little boost in energy.
  • Allow patients to rinse with mouthwash before and after the appointment.
  • Offer pre-pasted toothbrushes for patients that didn’t have time to or forgot to brush their teeth before their appointment.

TOUCH

  • Reception Room – Is it comfortable & welcoming?

Reading Material – Have a variety of magazine and books for patients to read.

Temperature – Keep the temperature in the reception room at a comfortable setting.

  • Treatment Rooms – Be sure that your patients are comfortable during their visit.

Massage Pads on Chairs

Blankets (If you have a patient that is always cold, pop the blanket in the dryer for them right before appt).

Distractions –  (Movies, Music, Digital Aquarium, Etc.)

Give Painless Injections…always.

Put your patients at ease by talking with them before you start looking in their mouth.

  • Free Stuff – Give away items imprinted with your office name, website and phone number to each patient at their appointment. Such as; toothbrushes, magnets, calendars, pens and lip balm. (If you’re wondering where you can order some quality imprinted items, check out Bizarre Marketing.  I share this particular company with you because their customer service is awesome!)

Using your 5 senses, look closely at yourself, your team, the exterior, and interior of your building, all office systems, your lab, sterilization procedures, website & social media sites, marketing materials, marketing programs and the patient experience.

Your goal during your spring cleaning should be to find ways to consistently exceed your patients’ expectations and remove anything that is hindering you from reaching that goal.

Are you receiving my free dental marketing and practice management ideas every month to your email? If not, PLEASE take a second and follow today or send me your email address to bhaydenconsulting@gmail.com and I will send you an invitation to follow. This way, you won’t miss a single idea. Feel free to share my blog with your dental friends.

 ~ Thank you!

Yours for Greater Success!

~Betty

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

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