Shift in dental treatment during and post COVID-19

Written by Dr. Tanya Kusum

April 16, 2020

Since the upsurge of globalization, it has been comprehended as a benign, win-win policy that brings prosperity, productivity and integrates nation and global economies in a way that disincentivizes revanchism and war.

Sadly another part of globalization comes under light to us now wherein interconnected trade, global supply chain systems and free to and fro movements of humans disrupt lives, devastate local economies and threatens how people live their normal lives.

Somewhere this pandemic has made each one of us realize the price at which globalization comes.

Healthcare workers are endlessly battling at the frontline of this crisis with combined efforts from paramedical and dental practitioners. Dental officers and elective healthcare professionals are redeployed being forced to keep their dental offices shut due to a high risk of transmission.

Hit on the global economy

The entire global economy has upended more than 2 trillion which is worst than the recession of 2008.
During these unprecedented times of this global pandemic, the need for survival is more than ever.

Although the value of human lives surpasses how the supply chain has been inflated, imports are down, and markets are downhill. Our healthcare system is endlessly fighting for basic needs like personal protective equipment in our war with the virus.

It’s beyond our human power and understanding to know when we shall return to our normal lives. Although what we know for sure is small businesses and daily wage workers are going to get a huge hit. We should be prepared mentally to face the 10-12% bankruptcy rate at this rate of business depletion.

Support from banks

Unlike the 2008 crisis, banks are trying to help these capitals in forms of reduced interest, delayed payments and strategies to us.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.

The banks are trying to provide as much safety jackets necessary to stay afloat amidst this state of crisis.

Impact on healthcare business

Healthcare practices that offering mainly elective procedures like Dental, Fertility, Dermatologists inevitably are going to bash.

Dentists all around the world have closed, are only carrying out emergency procedures, as stated by most dental associations. This is an attempt to stop the transmission of COVID-19 because the work primarily involves the mouth, has a high risk through aerosol transmission.

It’s a no-brainer that smaller dental practices are going to incur heavy losses if not lose their practices.
According to Dr. Roger Levine,’ We should prepare ourselves for a business turnaround. Instead of selling off businesses, each entity should seek Value-Based Strategies which is customized to make their businesses rise from the ashes.’

Few tips we could provide in these unprecedented times are :

 Dental Staff

  • Stay close to your staff, not from a monetary standpoint but being human and staying compassionate is the need of the hour. It’s the loyalty and efforts of these people that’s makes your workplace and that shall help you turnaround your workplace.
  • Increased efficiency to leave no room for error becomes the highest priority in these crucial times.
  • Educate them about the goals which will head on recovery-based purpose.
  • Do not hesitate to bonus and revenue-based work. This is the time where your best efforts as a team are beyond crucial.
  • We need to avoid marketing but instead offer full support and empathy to patients and stay connected with them on a humane level. Educating them about the need for treatment, so that elective procedures do not give into emergency ones.
  • Provide them flexible working hours.
  • Cross-train staff so that dependency on one individual reduces marginally.
  • Patient management
  • Special care should be taken by dental professionals who are above 50, due to increased risk of infection and severity of illness.

Dental Patients

Dr. Roger Levine refers to a patient calling process as 9-time contact process to keep the old patients attached :
9-time weekly contact process
Scripted calling – 3 weeks
Well wishing text – 3 weeks
Reminder e-mails – 3 weeks

Anyone who doesn’t reschedule goes into 90-day drip after which they shall be contacted. We should reach out to our patients after 90 days at least, we’ll need time to adjust to the new normal.

Once people go back to their routine lives, they’re more expected to keep up with their dental appointments.

  1. Be open to negotiations if you wish to keep patients for long. the more empathetic you are towards their suffering as human, the more relatable and trusted you become eventually.
  2. Focus on getting more new patients because statistically, these are the ones that shall profit you highly in the long run.

Dental Finance

We need to remember that every Practice is a different entity that needs its own bus module.

  • Calculate the Break-even point for your practice and accordingly manage expenses. Break-even is the minimum amount of finance required to keep the place running without any inflow of cash.
  • Stay ready to offer interest-free EMI options and accept payments from third parties, like Bajaj Finance and SBI.
  • Stay ahead with Insurance analysis and also keep up with 6 months of finance amounting to the break-even point, in cases of emergency like this one.
  • Keep making innovations that shall suit your businesses.

Dental Practice Hygiene

The standards of hygiene are never going to be the same in the entire world after COVID-19.
The associations have diligently passed us all technical information which has to carry out. Post-COVID 19 it shall be easier to get rid of the viruses in our practice but not out of people’s minds.

Small tips that you can follow in clinics :

  • Follow protocols for fumigation and sanitation.
  • Pro tip – Follow protocols you would follow to operate on HIV patients with every patient.
  • Take out toys and paper – eliminate simply all possible sources of Infection.
  • Most of the clinics have poor or no ventilation hence the use of air purifiers is advised.
  • The best choice would include purifiers with HEPA filters of grade 3/4 ideally.

What we do as dental practitioners significantly in the following 6 months shall inherently decide whether we survive or thrive in our work for years on.

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2 Comments

  1. wilweg

    makes it social

    Reply
  2. Khedty

    increased by knowledgebase, thank you!

    Reply

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