Dentex partners share lessons learned reopening their practices – Hints & Tips 2

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Eben Van der Walt – Portmore Dental

If you would like to talk to Eben Van der Walt about his experience at Dentex, you can contact him directly here.

At Portmore Dental, we have used a few steps to get from seeing no patients during complete lockdown, to now nearly full capacity in treating patients. Using steps is a helpful methodology and from my experience, ticking these steps helped us to establish a new normal quite quickly.

Step 1 | When we saw the lockdown coming, we created a platform of communications not only between us, as leaders of the business, but also to communicate with patients and the staff. There was a lot of noise out there, on the media and on social channels, so direct communication gave us a way to ask the patients and the team how they were experiencing the situation. It also gave us the right platform to tell them what we were doing and our next steps.

Step 2 | Then, we worked upon that. Once we were in lockdown, we immediately started to try and understand what needed to happen for us to be able to see patients again. As a dental community, we know how to deal with microorganisms and how to keep our clinics clean. By intensifying our existing protocols and exploring options for personal protective equipment at an early stage, we would be able to get back to business as soon as possible. We acted very quickly on that.

Step 3 | Now, it’s almost non-negotiable to digitalise practices. We must be more digital; we can’t have any paperwork in the practices anymore. Dentex helped us by creating a platform for virtual consultations enabling us to help patients during lockdown. there are no more forms to fill in in order to speak to a dentist, it has all been done digitally. By digitising the patient journey where possible, we ensure that the contact is less, time in the practice is less, and we keep our staff safe with less chance of cross contamination.

Step 4 | The big thing before we started to see patients was the rehearsal. You must rehearse the whole new patient journey all the time. We are recreating a movie and as dental professionals we must each have a clear role in order for our patients to feel comfortable, we are the actors in this big production. With the COVID-19 outbreak, our old script was obsolete, and we had to rethink the way we could work with extensive new protocols and procedures.

Step 5 | To make our team confident, we needed to rehearse, but also repeat everything over and over again to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable with the new script. We need to get familiar with every new procedure and do everything without thinking about it; repeating every step before reopening is very important.

Step 6 | Our practice is open, and we are now finding ways to reward people. We are rewarding our team and ensuring they get more rest time than usual between the patients. It’s a very stressful and challenging time as we cope with this backlog. We can tell the patients are extremely thankful and being able to care for them again means everything to us as a practice. The team is also happy because they see we are doing everything we can to make the work environment safe.

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