Dental teams all over the country are going back to work this week. COVID-19 restrictions are being loosened and to many the return to normal can not come fast enough. The question is, “Will we ever go back to our old version of normal?”
The short answer is no. Those living in fear demand change and will not return to their routines and habits as they were. Those living in faith are using the changes that have already occurred to expand what they thought was possible, and create new revenue streams.
So then, “What will be the new normal for dentistry?”
Exactly what Coronavirus forced us to learn; Safely connecting with each other from afar.
How to Re-Open Safely, and Re-Establish a Revenue Stream
I am a registered dental hygienist, and my profession is understandably fearful about returning to clinical dentistry with all the grim statistics we’ve seen in the media. I am also a business owner, so I understand the need to reestablish a revenue stream as quickly as possible to prevent a financial hole that may be impossible for some practice owners to climb out of.
Is it possible to re-open in a way that takes your team’s safety into account, allows you to adhere to state and federal guidelines, and re-establishes a revenue stream?
YES! It is possible. But first, let’s look at the problems so we can see how my suggestions solve each and every one.
- You cannot afford to put your full staff back to work all at once
- Not all of your team members are willing to return to work
- You do not have enough patients to fill your schedule
- You have a list of patients willing to come in, but if you pay your team, space them out, and use the recommended PPE, your profit margins will be so small that it won’t be worth it
- Your patients are nervous about coming in, and you’re overwhelmed with all of the new safety measures you need to implement
1. Consider a “Soft Opening.”
There are so many changes to consider that most practices are holding virtual team meetings to determine who is willing to come back, and what it would take for them to feel safe. This is a time for leadership. If you are fearful, your team will be as well. Here are some excellent examples of “Soft Open” guidelines you may want to implement as you begin to re-open:
Soft Opening Preparation Checklist
Grab The ADA Return To Work Toolkit
The American Dental Association has put together a great, FREE, toolkit for members and nonmembers alike. Don’t miss this opportunity to get so many soft opening best practices from one place.
Get your hygiene team ready.
Hygiene services are certainly “essential,” but many states are limiting them at this time. The American Dental Hygiene Association has put out this comprehensive guide to help you re-open your hygiene department slowly and safely.
Organize your PPE.
Make sure you have enough inventory. Your administrative team comes in contact with all of your patients. Just because they aren’t “in the mouth” doesn’t mean they are safe. DentalHub360 suggests you protect your front line with face masks, a plexiglass shield, and social distancing tape.
Put your patients at ease.
Communicate with your patients so that they know you are keeping up with state and federal guidelines and have their health and wellness in mind with this sample email or letter from the ADA.
Screen your patients.
Use a screening form like this one included in the ADA toolkit to help you determine who is safe to see in office, and would be a better candidate for a Virtual Screening.
Print and display your office guidelines.
Have office guidelines printed and available for all team members. Be flexible and expect challenges to arise. DentistyIQ put together a comprehensive list of what is needed to not just go back to work and stay in compliance, but to go back safely, with prevention at the forefront.
STOP GENERATING LEADS, GET PATIENTS INSTEAD
Stop chasing unqualified leads and wasting your valuable chairtime. Learn how to fill your operatories with patients who are pre-qualified and serious about moving forward with your high-value treatment.
2. Let your patients know you’re back.
Run an internal campaign using all available channels, email social, text, and direct mail. Team members can begin calling patients that need to be rescheduled from their own homes. Utilize remote login services to schedule right into your practice software. Make this an opportunity to inform them about your new safety and social distancing protocols as well. You will find out fast how full your schedule is going to be based on the number of people who want to schedule now.
3. Run an emergency dental marketing campaign.
Fill your schedule (and your new patient pipeline) NOW, with people actively searching online for emergency dentists. Gain trust and build relationships with a demographic that has many dental needs and is typically without a dental home. High-value care such as implants and reconstruction can be discussed without pressure since it is currently considered elective treatment. Help patients in pain feel better while assisting them in figuring out their next step to oral health and a beautiful smile. They will appreciate you during their time of need so much that they will likely become your best referral source in the months ahead.
4. Set up virtual appointments.
Virtual consults and teledentistry are here to stay. It is the safest way to “see” patients of record, and meet new patients. Driven Dental Marketing has partnered with Dr. Brian Harris to create a brand new platform that will help you reopen like a rock star! Learn how virtual consults for high-value care (like implants) can completely change how you attract busy professionals who are also qualified leads.
5. Create the ultimate patient experience.
Fuse an emergency campaign and virtual consults into one seamless platform that will fill your new patient and revenue pipeline in a way that will completely change the way you practice dentistry. At our Emergency Summit Conference, Driven Dental Marketing announced that we are adding a Virtual Patient Advocate to our support team!
Financing is the number one barrier to treatment, so we have solved the problem of wasted chair time with a virtual pre-screening and financial nurturing process that will deliver you patients ready to say yes. If you missed this epic conference, you can still learn how to lay a foundation for future success with a telehealth framework for high-value consultations. We can help you access the materials if you need them. Just click here to schedule a call with us.
6. Don’t try to do all of this alone
Now that you can see that it is possible to re-open in a way that takes your team’s safety into account, allows you to adhere to state and federal guidelines, and re-establishes a revenue stream, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the how. Practices that are adapting quickly are already successfully weathering this crisis.
Forward-thinking offices are:
- Continuing to produce
- Keeping their bills paid
- Serving patients in need
- Building their patient pipeline
- Positioning themselves as community leaders
- Laying a foundation for future growth and success
They know they cannot do this alone, so they’ve found a partner.
Driven Dental Marketing isn’t just another marketing agency. Our team is made up of dental clinicians as well as digital marketing experts who fully understand what you’re going through, and have the experience, tools, and resources to help you thrive in the face of uncertainty. In fact, our clients are already feeling like they will come out the other side stronger than ever. Our new platform is so innovative that we expect to be at capacity within a matter of months.
If you want to find out how other offices are getting in front of new emergency and potential implant patients within a matter of days, and find out how we pre-qualify them so that they are ready to say yes by the time they are in your chair, book a strategy call before we are full.