5 tips to think about when you reopen your practice after lockdown
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the dental industry. It’s changing the way practices and labs need to operate now and most likely, for the future.
If your practice is one of those that’s been turned upside down, read these tips for reopening your practice from two Danish doctors, Martin Heiden and Simon Kold. They were two of the first dental practices in Denmark to reopen.
While every country has its own guidelines and rules, the two Danish doctors provide excellent insight for professionals anywhere in the world to benefit from.
Here’s 5 tips to think about when you reopen your practice.
1. Be cautious when bringing back staff
Dr. Simon Kold recommends that practices should be cautious with bringing back their staff. His reasoning is based on the uncertainty that still surrounds the pandemic, and how it will eventually unfold.
While the impact of the shutdown is obvious, Dr. Kold believes that “depending on how the coming patient flow we have in our clinic develops, I would say that two to four months down the road is where we will see exactly how the pandemic has affected us.” According to Dr. Kold, bringing back staff should be carefully evaluated. His strategy has been to bring back two employees at a time. Emphasizing that not more than two per day should return to the office.
When an employee returns, Dr. Kold meets with them before they start up: “We sit down with each employee and have a 30-minute talk. First, on how we will take care of all the new personal protection equipment. We then let them work for a couple of days before adding two more employees. So gradually, we have employees coming back in.”
By bringing back two employees at a time, this minimizes the financial impact on the practice and mitigates contamination concerns.
Denmark has made the staggered reintroduction of employees easier by subsidizing the salaries of employees that were “sent home” during the pandemic.
2. Start with the most productive cases when you open
Recommended order for prioritizing your patients when re-opening
1. Emergency and production cases – schedule appointments that earn revenue i.e., larger cases, and of course, ones that are emergency related
2. New patients – keep your client base growing as there is uncertainty on how the future unfolds and/or when regular patients return
3. Maintenance cases – make sure your regular patients are confident and secure that it is safe to return to your practice
3. Consider expanding treatment hours
As your practice re-opens, you may find that you have a backload of cases and patients. Dr. Kold suggests that practices consider expanding their opening hours.
As with all other businesses in your area, your dental practice has been closed during the pandemic. This means patients have a lot of catching up to do besides their dental care.
Dr. Kold suggests that you consider accommodating patients by expanding your opening hours. His reasons are twofold, one, to help patients that are just getting back to daily routines know you are still there, and two, to make sure your practice begins earning revenue.