May 19, 2020
June 18, 2020 - Arminco Inc.
As a company who is in the business of helping dental offices, we have been navigating this COVID-19 climate with the narrative of, how can we help? As offices have had to get creative to help patients, we have had to get creative as to how we can utilize our resources to provide the services and accommodations that our offices and clients need. What better way than to ask you, the dentists! Reopening of offices has been wonderful for you, for us, and for patients. That being said, it has certainly not been without its challenges and obstacles. We wanted to find out from those of you, clinically day in and day out, what is working, what is not working, and what we can do to step up and help.
Of offices polled, 96% are officially open for business. Almost half being general practices, and the other half are a mix of pediatric, orthodontic, and combination practices. 75% of opened offices are operating at full staff and services. The other 25% have a mix of emergency and essential appointments only, partial staff, and decreased appointments. Given this, we want to know what is physically happening in the office that is hurting or helping the practice operate? One of the biggest concerns we have been seeing from a construction standpoint, is open bay operatories. About 35% of offices reported having open bay areas. This information corresponded with the additional feedback we received on what dentists opted they would do differently if they were given the option to build a new office now. Almost all that have an open bay or more open style operatories, said they would in some way rebuild and eliminate open areas, opting for closed operatories, rooms with doors, private hygiene rooms, and plumbed consult rooms (as they are private rooms already). Adding additional operatories and having larger operatories was also desired.
One aspect that does seem to be working well for dentists that have done it, is reception barriers. We have done several of these Plexiglass shields, to provide a sneeze guard, that is virtually invisible and helps protect staff and patients. However, some dentists expressed that given the opportunity, they would create more custom and permanent barriers for reception design, and efficiency to promote a more contactless checkout process.
An additional commonality of offices was the need, desire, or opportunity to install HVAC/air purification options for operatories and the full office. We observed this need early on and are proud to have partnered with PlasmaAir technologies to provide low profile, effective, and safe HVAC supplementation that addresses the entire office. Unlike chairside suction or clunky fogging machines, PlasmaAir’s system provides space and air volume (CFM) appropriate Ozone to purify and clean the air.
Given these changes to dentistry and health care in general, one of the most effective strategies we have been able to implement to help offices is to come up with customizable, budget friendly, innovative redesign and renovation options. From open bay partitions, adding operatories, to full remodels, taking advantage of down time, we have been proud to assist our clients in many ways. Instead of COVID restrictions becoming a burden, many dentists have been able to capitalize on the situation to come out with the best, safest, and most modern office they have ever had. Addressing concerns like new paint, flooring, and office layout, ultimately will help offices attract new patients and retain existing, while also accommodating more patients and increasing flow and efficiency through improved design and creating a safe atmosphere.
We thank everyone who participated in our survey! Client feedback is always invaluable and appreciated information. If you are a dentist who has considered making some of these changes, call or email us today to get a free design consult and find out where we can help you maximize your practice and safety post COVID-19.
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