The Headstart Project
120+ Dentists around the world participated in a survey carried out by Smile Care regarding their worries and concerns related to restarting their clinical operations.
The motive behind this survey was to help our experts identify prime concern areas and address them and help the Dental community at large.Thus came to existance,”The Headstart Project”. We thank all the participants for their valuable inputs.Survey results indicate that the whole community is facing similar issues and will face them together.
The Headstart Project by Smile Care is a step by step thought process that dentists could use as a guideline to maneuver their way forward in these tough times. Smile Care salutes the work of the dental fraternity and stands by them in these testing times
SESSION 1 – STAY CALM during lockdown
- Opportunity to undo things that you did not do right
- Opportunity to revisit your clinical work protocols- for treatment rates, staff training, new norms etc
- Opportunity to move up the ladder
- Communicate with your patients to understand their perspective
- Communicate with your staff to keep them motivated and reassured
- Strategic tie-ups with fellow dentists for incorporating protocols that you lack in
- Organize and procure PPE of reasonable quality that is efficient
- List your fixed outgoing costs
- Try to reduce the fixed outgoing by 30% by renegotiating rentals, slashing staff salary etc
- Plan to work on a strict budget for the next 6 months
- Expect 25% of monthly collection (as compared to collection before lock down)
- You are expected to bounce back faster if your patient base has expanded over the years by word of mouth as compared to media advertisements.
- Support your staff by purchasing COVID insurance for them
- Make life style changes for self but continue to contribute to country’s economy by reasonable spending
- Don’t be fearful. People will need dental work and they will need a good Dentist to do it.
SESSION 2 – HOPE TO COPE-First 30 days
- Invest time on training for reorganising internal systems for management and hygiene control before starting to receive patients
- Re-organize furniture setup to aid social distancing in the waiting area before starting
- Assign one dedicated person to do peripheral odd jobs outside the clinic including attending non appointed patients or business support staff
- Communicate with patients and inform them about the do’s and don’ts before the appointment
- Telephonic screening for travel history, area of residence etc needs to be reconfirmed and documented when patient comes for the appointment-for every appointment.
- Categorise patients requiring emergency and reconstructive/elective procedures.
- Initially appoint only 2-3 patients a day, fine tune your protocols and slowly reboot into routine. Start working in one session at the beginning
- Logical sequencing and scheduling of patient appointments and procedures for better time management and increased output
- Build efficiency for better productivity by planning the procedure’s execution with the team
- Create personal protection protocols for your clinic; Nobody removes masks in the clinic, Everyone wears head cap, protective eye gears and ensure good ventilation.
- Complete multiple treatments in one long appointment to reduce cost
- Multiple chairs in one open area warrant for avoiding simultaneous procedures especially those which involve aerosol production
- Routinely record history and temp check of the staff
- Revisit your treatment charges to run a profitable practice
- Decrease number of visitors as they will increase hygiene burden.
SESSION 3 – REBOOTING TO SURVIVE-1st to 3rd month
- Quantify your practice collection during the first uninterrupted 30 days,this is based on new treatments done in this period don't add outstanding collections
- Analyse what percentage of your regular turnover was this one month’s collection
- Perform a SWOT analysis
- S=Strengths….what worked well
- W=Weakness….what didn’t work well
- O=Opportunities…. what new opportunities did you experienced
- T= Threats…. Did you see someone in the team falling sick so you had to stop work
- Be practical about listing these as per your experience in the 30 days of practice
- Convert your weakness areas into strengths
- Keep abreast with changing norms as greater understanding of the spread of the virus may need change of your standard operating procedures.
- Do not jump into purchases of equipment and protection gear which is not proven enough to be most definitive for its purpose
- Internal marketing is the key, re-enforce good communications with patients
- Analyse your back up plan in these uncertain times
- The supply chain will not start rolling till Dentists do not start elective procedures
- Revisit clinic timings to work on a continuous full length session if possible
- Encourage more work, more patients per day in completely planned manner
- Work on time /money ratio to make your work hours productive
- Continuing eductaion is essential not only to hone clinical skills but to also to manage practice and understand finance to help run a profitable business
- Adopt new practices encouraging lesser human contact eg Digital education and online procuring of dental material
- Keep communication on constantly with staff, bankers and your lab personnels
- Focus on internal marketing-reaching out to your patients to share your experience during the first one month and reassure them about safety and precautionary measures to instil confidence in them.Motivate them to visit the clinic.
SESSION 4 – GET THE RHYTHM GOING- 4th to 6th month
- Quantify your practice collection during the first uninterrupted 90-100 days
- You should be close to 40% of your average collections compared to pre COVID times
- List what kind of treatments were you able to perform.
- Figure out if the new clinic operational timings are suitable and gauge if you would want to increase the number of hours
- Incase you have not been able to achieve the said revenue, critically analyse what could have been the issue.Rework on your strategy to highlight the value that your services offer to patients,or think of whats going wrong in your communications,treatment protocols, coordination or value proposition.
- Perform a SWOT analysis which can help you to
- To generate references from patients, work towards building value for your work and practice philisophy.
- Value is built by the overall experience that the patients has form the time they have a telecon with your office personnel for appointment to the time they finish their visits during the entire treatment process.
- Train yourself and your staff to communicate professionally , with empathy and care
- Master the art of leading the conversation by actually listening to the patient without interrupting
- Maintain transparency in communication in relation to treatment costs and timelines of execution.It is a virtue that takes the practitioner a long way.
- Create value for your expertise and politely drive across the point that a skilled hand works seamlessly even in the most complex situations
- This philosophy and process should be permanently infused into the culture of your practice for offering this delightful experience every time the patients is attended to.
- Continuity and consistency in your offerings will build value and in turn get more references to propel your practice to the next level.