So, Your Practice Is Temporarily Closed? Now Is the Time to Set Yourself up for Success
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing unprecedented disruption to everyday life around the globe, there is a lot of uncertainty around what happens next and what to do to stay proactive and prepared. Within the world of dentistry, you might be wondering what to do now that the ADA, other professional associations, and state boards have recommended practices suspend elective procedures to limit the potential for disease transmission.
While this situation is certainly a challenge, that doesn’t mean there aren’t silver linings. With patients and procedures temporarily on hold, there are ways to focus on staying productive and proactive. This is a challenging moment for everyone, and while you may not be able to come into the office, we’re here to help you make the most of this time so you can continue to be the best in practice when practices reopen.
So, how can you use this time to set yourself up for success when things return to normal? Here are five things to focus on:
- Stay Connected with Your Colleagues and Peers
Many dental professionals are social by nature, and that can make it especially difficult to adjust to social distancing and self-isolation. But just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch with your colleagues and peers. Consider setting up routine video check-ins with your teammates to provide companionship and make sure everyone is adjusting alright. Video conferencing services like Zoom or GoToMeeting make it easy for everyone in the office to keep in touch.
Additionally, Friends of Hu-Friedy is a great way to stay connected and engaged with fellow hygienists and dental assistants around the world. Join discussion threads to learn how your peers are meeting this challenge at their practices and stay updated on the latest information. Friends is also a great place to find on-demand CE courses, which brings us to point two.
- Catch Up on CE
Particularly for clinicians that have no access to their office, this is a great time to get caught up on the latest trends and education in the industry, so you don’t have to worry about it when the regular hustle and bustle of daily practice returns. Our free on-demand webinars provide continuing education on a variety of topics – from infection prevention to specific procedures to technology and product innovations.
Each course is taught by a renowned industry expert specializing in the course topic, and they all offer 0.5 to 1.5 CE credits upon completion of a test following the program.
- Review Your Infection Prevention Protocols
The 2016 CDC Summary of Infection Prevention Practices in Dental Settings shares that each practice should “develop and maintain written infection prevention policies and procedures appropriate for the services provided by the facility and based on evidence-based guidelines, regulations or standards.” Now, more than ever, it’s critical to ensure your practice’s infection prevention protocols are up-to-date and in compliance. The GreenLight Dental Compliance Center™ by Hu-Friedy continues to be an invaluable resource for practices looking to gain confidence in their compliance.
With GreenLight, you can use this time to evaluate each aspect of your infection prevention procedures, from written protocols to instrument reprocessing to waterline maintenance.
Our free eBook, The Essential Guide to Infection Control, is another great way to review proper infection prevention practices in an easily digestible format. This helpful explainer provides an overview of basic guidelines and procedures as well as a breakdown of the role and responsibilities for a practice’s infection control coordinator.
- Do Some Spring Cleaning and Maintenance
If you can still work from your practice, now is a great time to give your office that deep cleaning that would otherwise be difficult to accomplish with daily patient routines and might be especially difficult when practices are back in full swing and patients are making up for their missed visits. In addition to the Essential Guide to Infection Control eBook and GreenLight resources, this popular blog post on room turnover provides a good primer on what you need to do to ensure a clean environment.
Additionally, you may want to use this time for other organization and maintenance projects. Instrument maintenance, for instance, can be difficult to stay on top of during regular practice activities. Use this Instrument Check-Up brochure to audit your instruments for wear that may be causing you trouble.
Need to sharpen those scalers? If you’re already using an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant enabled device to check the news and stay in touch with your loved ones, you can also download the Hu-Friedy Sharpening Assistant app, which provides a useful guide for self-sharpening. For a hands-off approach, our EverCare Scaler Sharpening Service is still accepting new shipments.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to dispose of old or warn instruments, you can recycle them through our Environdent program. Please note that while we will continue to take orders, shipment of any free instruments earned will be deferred until July 31, 2020.
- Take Steps to Better Organize Your Practice
This is especially relevant for practice owners but has an impact on all staff members. With elective procedures on hold, now is an ideal time to take a holistic, big-picture look at practice procedures. Compliance, infection prevention, and related topics like waterline filtration and instrument reprocessing will be even more top-of-mind for both patients and practitioners moving forward, so it’s important to make sure you come back prepared.
One easy way to get started is to contact your Hu-Friedy representative to schedule a time for a virtual office visit, where they can walk through different ways to ensure your practice is set-up for success. Consultations focus on reviewing process and efficiencies and can include things like a review of instrument set-ups as well as recommendations for next steps. Hu-Friedy representatives can walk through best practices for installing waterline filtration systems and ensuring proper filtration for when patients return to the practice.
Additionally, if you are not already using an Instrument Management System (IMS™) at your practice, now might be the time to consider this safe, compliant, and efficient system for organizing and reprocessing instruments.
Craft Your Story
By staying proactive and productive now, you’re going to be in better shape for when elective procedures begin again. Better yet, you’ll be able to share with your patients – especially those who are hesitant about infection risks – how much you did, going above and beyond to maintain their safety.
Referencing things such as this to market your practice will be an important part of returning to normalcy, and we’ll be back with advice about getting this message out and preparing for practices to reopen. Until then, we’re here to help you make the most of this time so you can continue to be the best in practice moving forward.