Since 2019, many things have changed in the dentistry profession. The arrival of the COVID-19 epidemic has affected many areas of our private lives as we live day-to-day, and it has changed our work environments as well. The dental profession is no exception. Thorough cleaning and disinfecting methods have been taken to a new level between each and every patient.
In the present day and time, one aspect of dentistry that has changed significantly is how dental offices approach staffing. Dentists are discovering that they will face the challenges of the new normal for many years to come. Let’s focus on a few of the ways your dental practice can thrive and stay ahead of the competition.
Consider a Flexible Staffing Approach
Some of the amazing benefits of a flexible dental staff is that it provides time to focus on patients and keep providing the same great high level of care expected from your practice. Due to the pandemic, it is very hard to pinpoint whether your schedule will be full and overflowing or basically empty. The most prevalent way to assure you have the number of staff available is to take advantage of temporary dental staff. By using this additional help while your dental practice is busy, and decreasing your use of temps during the times your business is slow, employment costs can be decreased. This use of temp dental staff will carry you into the future and allow for the continued success of your dental practice.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, dental practices were cut back to being only allowed to treat emergency cases, which left their offices overstaffed. During this time when staff was not being fully utilized, dentists were still obligated to pay these team members. Due to this way of operating, many dentists discovered they could not afford to pay all the dental members, and they had to dismiss good hygienists and assistants with no jobs available for them elsewhere.
Once it appeared dental offices were beginning the process of opening their offices again, dentists found themselves short on staff to treat patients. This is how the search for temporary staff began. This was a great way to keep staffing costs low while not sacrificing quality care to the patients.
According to an ADA survey, “By the week of May 4th, 68.9% of dental practices remained entirely closed or not open for emergency appointments and unlikely to be hiring.” The next time you are low on staff due to sickness or vacation, consider using the services of a temporary dental professional. Many dental professionals were lost during the shut-down due to finding themselves unemployed and left behind on all the new protocols to reduce infection. These team members found themselves forced to work for less and simply lost interest in dentistry.
Incorporate More Temp Workers
Permanent employees in the dental practice will always be of value, but temporary staff provide a great way to occupy unforeseen gaps to help dentists keep their doors open for services and treat more patients. Temps are well implemented in several situations dental practices may find themselves in now, and will assure there doesn’t have to be any canceled appointments. This will allow for much-needed income for your dental practice and reduce your employment costs.
Now is a great time to consider incorporating more temporary Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs) and Registered Dental Assistants (RDAs). When all patients again feel it’s safe to come back to the dental office, such things as teeth cleanings, whitening, and general check-ups will increase, supporting the need for additional team members.
As a result, you will increase the patient appointments you can schedule to generate more income. Now may be a good time to implement last-minute appointments as well. Temporary RDHs and RDAs can take on the patients who need appointments on short notice, helping to insure quality care for all patients. Also by hiring temporary specialist dentists into your dental practice, you can perform more complex dentistry and not have to refer your patients to another dental office.
As the dental profession rebounds from the COVID-19 effect on dental services, the times of “business as usual” are gone. There are new standard operating procedures in many dental practices. Dentists who embrace this new time in dentistry will emerge stronger after the pandemic than when it began.
What positive changes can we look forward to in the years to come? One positive change that has evolved and will continue is the implementation of higher safety standards than in the past. The protective clothing you see your dentist or hygienist wear may be different than ever before. Dental practices may initiate prepayment for appointments or texting patients secure click-and-pay links. Patients may also schedule their follow-up appointments in the dental chair to reduce in-office waiting times. The patients are sure to appreciate the cleaner and more convenient offices and service choices.
Strategic Practice Solutions Dental Staffing offers bold, personalized, proven staffing solutions for your dental practice. Strategic Practice Solutions provides the dental staffing services you need to identify, hire, and retain the ideal candidate for your practice – the first time around!