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Examining and Improving the Health of Your Dental Practice


Let's say you're a student at university, taking your first English literature elective. You step into your first class and notice your teacher's notes on the blackboard are full of spelling and grammar errors.  

We’re willing to bet you’d have second thoughts about taking the class, because you understand that licensed professionals should always practice what they preach. 

A similar principle applies to the state of any given dental practice.  

Yes, you’re committed to improving the health of your patients...but what about the health of your business? You can’t keep offering high-level care if your business is ailing. 

And, of course, the same idea applies to the health of your employees. You spend so much time focused on your patient’s well-being that it’s natural to overlook your own team’s safety. 

Just as you care for the health of your patients, it is important to pay attention to the health of your practice and staff. Let's look at how this can be achieved. 

How Can You Assess Your Practice’s Health?

Evidence suggests that most dentists do not spend sufficient time assessing the status of their own practices. Although many practices use dental practice management software (PMS), which generates a great deal of information, they often struggle to make that information actionable. 

One way to solve this problem is a tool called a practice health assessment, which can help provide clearer insight into how your practice is doing. A practice health assessment gathers data from your existing practice management software (PMS) database and breaks it down into useful metrics in a kind of “Practice Scorecard.”  

As an example, rather than looking at how many total patients you have entered into your practice management software, you might instead consider how many are active patients (confirming practice stability) or inactive patients (suggesting potential for growth), as well as demographic data (for market segmentation). 

It would also be helpful to compare these numbers with industry-average benchmarks to provide context. 

These practice health assessment tools can provide more deep-dive insights than standard PMS reports. Unlike the systems of old, new practice assessment tools convey the data in impactful ways that tell a meaningful, digestible story with the numbers. 

Furthermore, practice health assessment tools identify missing data in PMS fields, so your team can fill them in to make the reporting more detailed. 

The practice assessment tool removes the need for guesswork, assumptions, and anecdotal evidence. And it replaces those lesser approaches with a clear look into what’s really happening at your practice. 

By monitoring the overall health of your practice, you’ll better your chances at cultivating a positive, thriving work environment. It will be a place that patients want to visit and employees want to work. 


Protecting Your Employees and Valuing Their Health


Speaking of your employees, now that you’ve managed the health of your practice itself, it’s time to focus on your team’s well-being. After all, if your staff isn’t happy and healthy, your business won’t be primed for long-term success.  

In the age of COVID, infection prevention is a top priority. And while there are government regulations, taking every measure to protect your team from all infections should be a top priority. 

This brings us to the IPAC (infection prevention and control) checklist for dental practices. By using this resource, your business will experience the following benefits:

  • You’ll have helpful guidelines for conducting inspections, assessments, and investigations of infection prevention and control. 
  • Comparing current infection prevention methods with other dental practices makes your practice likely to keep up with and even exceed safety standards. 

 The checklist examines safety procedures throughout your entire practice, from your waiting room all the way to antiseptic techniques and dental handpiece management.  

It uses a legend with the following facets to convey the importance of various procedures: 

  • LR is used for legislative requirements, which must comply with any relevant act or regulations. 
  • H is used for high risk health hazards that must be corrected immediately. Otherwise, there will be a heightened risk of injury or illness. 
  • M is for medium risks that must be managed somewhat promptly. Resolutions or alternate processes can be figured out during an inspection. 
  • IE stands for “inform and educate,” requiring information on best practices and mandated regulations. 

Before moving forward, it’s worth noting that the checklist provided doesn’t replace legislative measures.


A Healthy Practice Means Healthier Patients


As a dental practitioner, your professional life revolves around the well-being of your patients. However, it’s impossible to keep providing top-notch healthcare when your practice and your staff aren’t healthy themselves. 

Fortunately, through the tools discussed in this blog, you’ll ensure your practice remains high-performing as a business. And you’ll secure the overall safety of your team through infection prevention practices. 

Lastly, we’ll leave you with a parting note: keeping your practice thriving while preventing infections will win much of the battle. But employee health goes a bit deeper than that. Dental practice owners must prioritize their team’s overall wellness and encourage them to lead healthy lifestyles. 

This way, you and your whole team will practice what you preach.

at 2:08 PM
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