5 Key Challenges to Dental Workflows
KaVo Kerr Connections
5 Key Challenges to Dental Workflows
Running a smooth dental practice is both an art and science. Striking the perfect balance to fit the needs of your patients, staff and practice is not easy. Many of the solutions to better patient outcomes, happier staff, and a flourishing practice are readily accessible—or could even be in your office already.
Here are five key challenges to dental workflows that can easily be solved to help you improve the efficiency your practice.
Challenge #1: I already have that feature?
Technology is so advanced these days that many of the diagnostic tools we deploy in the dental office have features we don’t even know exist. But let’s face it, a day in the life of a dental practice is demanding and it can be challenging to find to the time to understand the ins and outs of existing office equipment.
Despite the time constraints, understanding how to make your equipment work for you can maximize the efforts of your staff in the long run. We suggest spending 30 minutes a week with your staff on in-office product refresher training. Often, tips and tricks are shared amongst the group and concerns are raised that may not otherwise be voiced.
For instance, you already know that DEXIS™ CariVu™ is a great diagnostic tool for supporting the identification of carious lesions and cracks. But did you know that you can setup templates within the software, just like a bitewing series, to expedite the image acquisition process? For some offices, the entire CariVu process can take just two minutes per patient when using preset templates.
Challenge #2: If It’s Not Broken, Why Fix It?
If your chairs are full and your patients leave smiling, you may be correct that nothing need change in your office. But what if that’s not the case? New diagnostic and restorative dental dentals tools are constantly hitting the market. While all products are not created equal, the latest technological advancements (generally) enable you to better do your job, not disrupt your practice.
Going “with your gut” or the “wait-and-see method” is not as acceptable to patients as it once was when options were more limited. If you are using outdated diagnostic methods, your patients know it—and they are telling their friends. Although the process may not necessarily be broken, if it can be better, then it is worth your time to consider advancing your practice.
For example, DEXIS CariVu is a device that provides dentists with clear, actionable, diagnostic data for detecting caries and fractures. Using transillumination technology, CariVu illuminates the tooth exposing decay in clear, black and white images. CariVu not only enables the clinician to know the precise health of a tooth, images are easier for patients understand than radiographs. With this understanding, they can better agree with your diagnosis and your treatment plan.
Challenge #3: I Can’t Afford to Do Things Differently
Sure, new technology comes with a price, but what is the price of your reputation in this competitive dental marketplace? The next wave of fresh, young dental school graduates enthusiastically embrace innovation. Smart practices with automated check-in, seamless practice management, and an elevated patient experience are popping up all over the country.
Having cutting-edge diagnostic tools, like CariVu’s near infrared transillumination caries detection, will give your practice a comprehensive diagnostic protocol that will differentiate you from other dentists in your area. And now that CariVu has its own designated ADA code, your investment return can depend on how often the device is used. It should be comforting to know that the affordability of your new technology could largely be determined by your practice’s workflow integration—an element entirely within your control.
Challenge #4: I’m Too Busy to Implement New Technologies
They say that busyness is the enemy of productivity, and we all know that a jam-packed schedule does not always equal results. But, finding the time to stay up to speed on the latest industry advancements still requires some scheduling finesse.
We recommend blocking out at least one hour per week for your personal education. Keep a list of online or print resources that you can spend a few minutes reviewing each week. Forums, blogs, journal articles, or even social media platforms can provide quality insight on new products and workflow improvements. Your DEXIS imaging representative is also a great on-demand resource for product or software functionality inquiries. Many websites provide free CE courses that can be taken at your convenience. Some resources that we love are Viva Learning or Dental Compare. For example, check out this great tutorial from Dr. Parag Kachalia on Dental Compare’s Tips and Tricks from a Pro series.
Challenge #5: My Hygienists and Dental Assistants Don’t Like Change
Change is challenging for everyone, but making the use of new technologies fast, easy, and fun can help get your team onboard with workflow improvements. Effective change starts with proper training. Whether self-directed or in a group, there is never a downside to keeping your staff equipped with product and clinical knowledge. Some diagnostic tools, such as DEXIS CariVu, come with in-office training at no additional cost. Speak with your DEXIS Imaging Consultant about getting your training scheduled.
Rewarding your team also can help to give them an incentive to use new products or technology. Make the learning fun by reinforcing good behavior. A small gift card or prize for those using the technology or designating a head trainer can be effective techniques for implementing change in your practice. Also, build awareness of your office’s dental tools with your patients so they can personally request it. For example, if a patient is radiation averse, and they hear that your office uses CariVu, they may request (and appreciate) the non-ionizing solution to caries detection that your office provides.
There are many challenges present when attempting to change or improve a dental practice’s workflow. Identifying the challenges first and then finding unique solutions that fit your office structure and culture can help you make strides toward positive change.