How & Why to Encourage Your Dental Team to Embrace Change
Heraclitus, the Greek Pre-Socratic philosopher, said, “Change is the only constant in life.”
Similarly in business, change leads to many positive aspects. As the global pandemic reminds us, the world is changing every day. And as cliché as it may sound, change is good.
Without change, your practice would still use crude forceps for extractions and store X-rays films in the patients’ file folders.
Let’s think for a moment. Dentistry has come a long way. Technology has made a huge impact on the industry. Gum treatment has evolved tremendously over the years. Dental clinics offer a whole heap of solutions that blend in seamlessly with natural teeth to improve patients’ smiles.
Dental composite resins and cements are able to strengthen teeth better. Root canal techniques are vastly more effective than they were some decades ago. Some orthodontic procedures can be done with invisible braces instead of traditional braces made from metal.
Although dentistry has advanced so much over the last decades, many Australian dental practices are still reluctant to infuse healthy habits into their workflow (just think of some practices that are still using pen-and-paper appointment books!)
That’s okay. We know that change brings anxiety and strikes fear in people’s hearts. Change can make people uncomfortable as they ditch age-old habits and attempt new ways of working. Especially in a stressful environment such as dentistry, team members are more focused on delivering excellent oral health rather than breaking old patterns by digitising the practice.
Nevertheless, practices that don’t change can quickly stagnate. According to StartUs Magazine, the “business as usual” mindset is killing innovation. Dental practices need to change (like any other business) in order to grow.
Let’s take a look at why adapting to change in a dental practice is important to move forward, the benefits that can be brought about by adapting to change, and the actionable steps to take to embrace change.
Table of contents:
1. Why Embracing Change is Essential to Growing Your Dental Practice
As we saw previously, while implementing change may be challenging, it can also be tremendously beneficial for dental practices.
Maybe it goes without saying or maybe it doesn’t, but practices stuck in their ways are likely to fall behind while staff members stagnate in a stale work environment.
Here is why it is so important for dental practices to roll with the punches:
Change is essential for improvement
The primary purpose of every dental practice is to deliver great oral health and disease prevention and create treatment plans that are able to maintain or restore their patients’ smiles.
By embracing change, you will improve the quality of oral health care and, ultimately, improve your patients’ quality of life.
Keep up with technological advancements
The rate at which technology trends evolve can be daunting for any dental practice - not to mention that technology has taken an even more significant role in our everyday lives as the world has been turned upside down due to the pandemic.
Think, for example, of teledentistry - the practice of using information technology and telecommunication for dental care, consultation, and education. Teledentistry was unimaginable decades ago, while now it has become immensely popular.
Practices that fail to keep up with technological advances are likely to find themselves floundering, unable to stay ahead of the competition.
Create a competitive advantage
Embracing change and finding new ways to reach out to patients helps you gain advantage over your competitors.
Implementing change enables you to improve patient experience (e.g., shorter appointments, more comfortable and less invasive procedures, etc.), which will catapult you ahead of your competitors.
Increase the efficiency of your practice
Implementing change helps you build a high-performance practice and increase efficiency (which also improves time management).
Higher levels of efficiency not only optimise your patient experience, but also streamline team members’ schedules and reduce stress.
Doing something in less time does not mean not spending enough time with patients but focusing on core activities rather than running around like a blue-arsed fly (let’s admit it; multitasking is still fairly common in dental practices.)
Increased revenues and bottom line
If change is all about improving patient experience and efficiency, it’s no surprise that higher revenues and increased bottom line come with the territory.
For example, modern equipment and technology allow you to achieve higher levels of efficiency in your practice, make doctors and team members feel gratified and happy, and improve patient satisfaction rates.
All these positive outcomes will directly impact your practice’s bottom line by maximising profitability.
2. 3 Steps Towards Implementing Change in Your Dental Practice
Now is the time to embrace change. Why so?
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, you may not have been considering implementing change in your practice and preparing your team to embrace it. Schedules were full, and sticking to old ways of working didn’t seem too much of a problem.
Then, the pandemic outbreak (as well as the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant) has caused considerable difficulties for Australian dental practices and major barriers to accessing dental services for many Aussies.
That’s why it’s time to focus on new goals, find ways to upgrade your practice in order to move forward and make the changes you’ve been putting off.
1. Use an online scheduling system
Let’s admit it; we are living in the age of self-scheduling. Not only does it align with the new reality of COVID-19, but it also meets patients’ expectations.
According to a Black Book Market Research study, 97% of patients expect to be able to use online scheduling to book an appointment. If you give your patients the option to book non-urgent visits on their own, the number of self-scheduled appointments in your practice is likely to significantly rise.
Besides, online scheduling improves time management and reduces the annoying last-minute cancellations by increasing the likelihood that patients will notify you if they need to cancel the appointment (or reschedule it).
2. Streamline and optimise your stock management
Stock management is something that busy practices often don’t take into account. They’re too much focused on making patients happy and delivering high-quality oral health.
Having a patient-centred approach is great, but neglecting a key function of your practice can wreak havoc. In fact, stock management can actually make or break your dental practice.
Surprisingly, 95% of Australian dental practices are still dealing with redundant, time-consuming, and frustrating manual stock processes. That’s why it’s time that you do what others don’t.
By automating your stock processes, you will save up to 80% of the time on stock management, free up staff, increase your practice’s profitability (by avoiding overstocking and understocking) and ultimately, deliver greater oral health.
One caveat, though - To fully optimise your stock management, we recommend you avoid a one-size-fits-all system (designed for all industries). Invedent is proud of being the very first Australian stock management and ordering system specifically tailored to the dental industry. Try it for 30 days for free and see how efficient stock management will work miracles for your practice!
3. Incorporate new technology into your practice
The advances in science and technology have allowed many dental practices to enhance and simplify procedures and offer more streamlined services.
We can’t stress this enough - Your practice needs to stay abreast of new technologies in order to thrive.
Add a computer in each exam room so that team members can easily access the practice management system. Use a CAD/CAM device, an intraoral camera, digital x-rays, and any other device or piece of software that can add value to your practice. Make your practice tech-savvy to get the maximum return on investment.
Another caveat to keep in mind - To get the most out of technology, make sure all computers, digital cameras, and software applications communicate with one another and work together seamlessly.
Suppose, for example, that different software applications don’t work well on your computer’s operating system. In that case, team members risk fumbling around while a patient is sitting in the chair and negatively impacting the patient experience.
Conclusion: For many Australian dental practices, routine has remained a driving force.
While change is often regarded as a risk, implementing changes is vital for dental practices and clinics looking to improve, realise growth potential, and deliver great oral health.
If your practice fails to keep up with trends, it will lag behind and become stale. Yes, it’s natural to feel that change is scary. But even if there is a shred of doubt, taking a leap of faith and throwing yourself into the unknown will definitely have positive results.
Are you ready to take the leap from tedious, ineffective, labour-intensive manual stock management to a smarter and more feasible way to manage your stock operations? If that is the case, start your 30-day FREE trial with Invedent to significantly improve your inventory processes whilst saving money and freeing up time for more productive tasks!