Reflect, refocus, rebuildNews
Posted by: The Probe 8th January 2021
The New Year offers us a bright and shiny opportunity to reflect, refocus and rebuild. After the events of 2020, many businesses will be considering strategies to enhance the efficiency of certain processes in order to boost growth and support a quick recovery. For dental practices, this is a chance to start the year on the right foot by taking advantage of cutting-edge digital systems to ensure a more streamlined and cost-effective workflow that transforms the treatment experience for the better. The latest technology can undoubtedly offer a significant return on investment in terms of improving productivity and increasing the competitive edge of your practice.
The smooth running of many practice processes often depends on efficient scheduling and organisation of day-to-day administrative tasks. As such, many practices invest in management technologies to automate these processes. Some platforms enable you to view information about the day’s schedule at a glance, including who is providing treatment, what procedures are taking place in what time slot, the status of each procedure, and much more. This data can then be used to book appointments, manage billing and send out reminders automatically, which not only reduces the risk of human errors, but also frees up valuable time for you and your team to focus on patient care.
Some practice management systems also enable you to measure and analyse the performance of your business, highlighting where strengths and weaknesses lie. You can then use this information to plan and implement changes within the practice to target specific areas for improvement, thus helping to enhance patient care and, consequently, grow your business. Similarly, technology can support you in monitoring and keeping up-to-date with trends that you may be able to capitalise on. If, for instance, you find that enquiries for cosmetic dentistry are more prevalent during a specific time of the year, you could create a promotion campaign in order to increase treatment uptake when demand is highest.
The patient journey
Besides practice management, digital technology can also offer significant benefits in terms of facilitating a more seamless and convenient patient journey. Given the current emphasis on infection control and social distancing, many practices are now offering virtual consultations, where clinicians can discuss likely treatment options without the patient having to visit the practice. As well as minimising non-essential contact, virtual consultations provide patients the space and time to digest the information they have been given and consider their options carefully for a more informed decision-making process. This can ultimately help improve the chances of treatment being accepted.
Once patients are in practice, dental teams can take advantage of digital technology to restore teeth within a single appointment. Intraoral scanners, for example, can outperform traditional impression-taking methods in terms of speed, precision, hygiene and ease-of-use. These devices can be combined with the latest CAD/CAM systems or 3D printers to facilitate the design and manufacture of supreme-fitting restorations in practice. Additionally, clinicians can use this technology to produce highly accurate surgical guides that can further simplify procedures and maximise available chairtime. By maintaining an in-house restorative workflow, practices can ensure quicker treatment turnaround times in order to cater to even more patients in the long-term. Moreover, patients benefit from not having to attend multiple appointments.
To support more efficient treatment, it is important to invest in reliable decontamination equipment that can keep pace with the demands of a busy practice, whilst ensuring the health and safety of both staff and patients. Thermal washer disinfectors like the new Teon from W&H provide an automated, reproducible and validated means of cleaning instruments, including hollow and rough-surface handpieces, as well as tools with complex components. Some dental handpieces may not be suitable for cleaning in a thermal washer disinfector, so be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid incorrectly processing instruments and invalidating any warranties.
Sterilisation can also be optimised with intelligent systems such as the Lisa type B vacuum autoclave from W&H, which offers an S class cycle time of 13 minutes and B class cycles from 28 minutes for maximum results with minimum energy consumption. Further still, practices can automate handpiece maintenance with the innovative Assistina TWIN. In just 10 seconds, this award-winning reprocessing device thoroughly lubricates and cleans the spray channels of the handpiece, before removing all aerosols produced through active suction and an integrated HEPA filter. This makes handpiece maintenance as easy, hygienic and cost-effective as possible.
With the arrival of the New Year, it’s time to turn reflection into action. There’s no doubt that the months ahead will present both challenges and opportunities for the profession, emphasising the importance of being prepared. By investing in innovative technology, dental teams can ensure a more efficient workflow to meet the ever-evolving demands and expectations of patients in the wake of an ongoing global health crisis. A new approach to the delivery of treatment could be just what your practice needs for a stronger bounce back in 2021.
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