Steve Mascarin Explains How to Organize a Dental Office for Optimized Productivity and Customer Comfort
While you might be an experienced dentist like Steve Mascarin of Toronto, Ontario (who also holds many commercial properties in the industry), how you organize your dental practice can make a world of difference to both your patients and your dental team.
Putting some time and effort into maximizing organization in your dental office can help your patients feel more relaxed, while boosting efficiency of the staff. It also reflects a more professional image.
But how do you achieve this? Steve Mascarin shares some tips.
Make Waiting a Better Experience
The best “waiting room” experience is to have no wait at all! That’s why Steve Mascarin has branded “seat to seat” service. Straight from the car to the sterile dental operatory! That said, occasionally an unforeseen wait time is necessary.
Often, a waiting room in a doctor or dentist’s office has a rather institutional feel that doesn’t always evoke a calm feeling. However, by sprucing up the decor of the room, you can provide a more welcoming experience, according to Steve Mascarin.
One way to achieve this is by adding neutral decorations without creating a feeling of clutter. Of course, the chairs should be comfortable and sufficiently spaced apart. While some offices have televisions, playing relaxing music is an effective alternative. Also, Steve Mascarin jokes having strong Wi-Fi is key.
A patient should be greeted by reception upon entry and be within range to easily update them when their appointment will begin. Some offices have started texting or calling patients to update them on wait times, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Be Wary of Visuals and Sounds from a Patient Perspective
When designing a waiting room and other patient areas, it’s important to consider what the patient hears and sees, explains Steve Mascarin. For example, the sound of dental instruments upon entering the site will not do much to calm nerves. Additionally, some offices use furniture designed to conceal instruments, which is more specific to treatment rooms.
Creating a separate space for patient consultations can be also effective, so patients are not waiting in line for someone to settle their treatment bill.
Set Up Treatment Rooms Similarly
Keeping the organizational structure of each treatment room similar makes it easier for your dental team to move from one space to another to accommodate patients in a timely manner. It also helps staff easily identify where tools are and what needs to be stocked, explains Steve Mascarin. Having custom, labeled storage spaces for supplies can help staff access them quicker.
Using bins for tools that need to be taken away and sterilized is a good practice. Meanwhile, instruments can be replenished outside the treatment room and introduced into the room using a pass-through cabinet without disrupting a procedure. Instrument trays can also be made up ahead of time and safely stored to cut down on preparation time.
Optimize Your Sterilization Space
This is a critical area for any healthcare setting. Not organizing it well can create a safety concern and a bottleneck that can slow down your team.
Sterilization areas should be centrally located in your practice (or at least within close proximity of your treatment rooms) and not share other functions for risk of injury or contamination.
In order to improve the flow, you can set up the sterilization room with clearly defined areas for dirty and clean instruments. In fact, the CDC recommends four areas for receiving, preparing, sterilizing, and storing instruments. Switching from trays to cassettes to transport tools may also make the entire process safer and more efficient.
Organization is Key to Success, Says Steve Mascarin
Having a skilled dental team is an important part of patient retention, but just as important is the patient experience, says Steve Mascarin.
Setting up the dental office for easy flow from waiting room to treatment to checkout will leave a positive impression on a patient. Having organized treatment spaces that prevent dental staff from sifting around for tools will also bolster your efficiency. When you put effort into organization, you can also reduce the burden on staff, which reflects well on a patient’s overall experience.