Facilitating Practice Recovery

We are certainly living in unprecedented times; full of uncertainly, trepidation, and worry about what the future holds for our personal lives and our profession. While I share the same concerns, I am heartened by all that I have witnessed over the last couple of months.  I have seen extensive training taking place by my peers and their staff as they have used the forced down time to educate themselves on all aspects of Dentistry—everything from learning new clinical procedures, improving financial acumen, implementing digital technologies and enhancing staff leadership.

Now as we are seeing countries, regions and states starting to open, we must embrace the new reality as our new normal.  What will recovery look like?  We know the descent was a quick elevator ride to the bottom. Will the ascent be a quick ride back up or will it be more of an escalator-like transition filled with ascent and plateaus?  Whatever happens over the next year or so, we need to be prepared that the recovery could take time.

Patient engagement becomes even more important during this recovery phase in helping to keep our schedules filled to make up for lost time during mandatory closures.  Ensuring our existing patients and potential new patients know we are open for business and prepared to treat them in a safe way is vital to our success.  As we move forward in constrained environments filled with social distancing, face masks, and limited interaction outside the practice, we need to embrace social media in a way that fills the void of direct personal contact. 

Infection prevention and awareness by the general public is at a peak right now; something we haven’t seen since the HIV days of the late 80s.  Patients are more concerned than ever about how we are going to provide care; ensuring that they understand all the precautions we are taking is key to alleviating their fear and building confidence so they will return quickly.  The ADA has done an excellent job of providing guidelines on rendering care and so I urge you to use their resources at the ADA Guidance on Coronavirus.

We have all lost a lot of time providing care; a halt in all but the most necessary procedures have resulted in devastating financial results at all levels of Dentistry.  The implementation of digital technologies and related software applications can help tremendously in recapturing part of that lost time with patients. Now is the time to consider how you can improve productivity, provide excellent care and ensure predictable clinical results even in the most difficult situations.

As the chief dental officer for Carestream Dental, my role is to ensure we are always providing solutions that meet your needs. This difficult time can provide the impetus for necessary changes, which will raise all levels of Dentistry.  We’re all in this together, and I am confident that together we will emerge stronger.

Edward Shellard, DMD Contributor


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