How To Read This Graph?
The vertical line is Demand for Dental Services. The horizontal line is Time.
BC - Before COVID-19: The period before COVID-19 impacted the demand for dental services. The ‘business as usual’ phase.
Demand Crash: The period immediately after COVID-19 outbreak, schools closed, social distancing commences, resulting in cancelled appointments & office closures.
Hibernation: Most/all dental offices are closed, and patients are not asking for dental services unless it is an emergency. Offices are re-scheduling patients for a future time they hope will be ‘safe’. Patients deferring dental services until they feel like the worst of COVID is over. Offices are planning for the re-open and thinking about how they’ll prioritize patients and make up for lost time.
Quarantine Lifted: Begins when the news/government is saying ‘The worst is over’ and people emerge from hibernation. Patients begin thinking about getting their dental work done. Offices begin re-opening, filling their schedules and staffing up.
Patient Rush: The floodgates are open, and patients are returning in mass to get the dental work done that they put off. Dental practices will likely need to triage based on urgency of patient case.
The Surge: Patient demand will exceed a practice’s ability to sfy need with normal working hours and staffing levels. Practices will want to augment their staff (staff up) and potentially add working hours/days to serve their patients sooner, rather than risk their going elsewhere.
Back to Normal: The crazy period is over, and demand has returned to normal levels.
Next Steps During This Critical Time:
1. Stay in Action 2. Manage your Focus 3. Stay Connected
· Communicate with your team - your intention and vision for the practice once the shutdown is lifted. Stay in communication with your team to maintain connection and reassurance as best you can with what’s possible when coming back together.
· Update your patients regularly about what is happening in the practice, how to reach you in the event of a dental emergency and how you’re putting new and updated procedures in place to ensure their health and safety.
· Encourage your team to remain connected with each other and help support each other during this time. Have weekly online meetings with your team to stay up to date on any new developments and share ideas and the implementation of new protocols and procedures in the practice.
· Be prepared for once your doors reopen: make a list of all patients who needed to cancel/postpone appointments during the shutdown period; run reports of patients who are overdue; run reports of patients who have unscheduled recare and unscheduled treatment.
· Use this as an opportunity to create new systems and best practices by creating a reactivation system to reintroduce patients to your practice; prepare a new and updated office protocol for increasing safety measures for all patients and team; make a list of items you may need to order to put new protocols in place; update policy and procedure manuals; update job descriptions, roles and responsibilities.
· Create a new marketing plan and strategies to generate new patient attraction; update your website; create social media platforms and/or update existing profiles and accounts; post daily to your existing patient base and followers; provide resources and updates on the status in your community and what you’re putting in place to enhance patient services; reassure your patient’s that you’re there for them in the event of an emergency and you will be there for them once business returns to normal again.
· Participate in online continuing education, training webinars and podcasts
Focus - Believe that what you focus on expands. It is a recommendation of turning OFF the news and consciously plug into those resources that are there to specifically support you and develop a game plan of action. Also, take time to redirect your focus to those who may be in need or where you can connect with others.
· Focus on what you may be able do to help your community and spread hope and compassion for those in need.
· Focus on the opportunity you have to use this time to connect with loved ones, call a friend or family member you miss or would like to catch up with; spend quality time with your children and your spouse or significant other; create a vision board as a family project, play games, bake, color or do puzzles together.
· Focus on ways you can improve the practice - opportunity to spend time creating new and better systems for your team, enhance patient services, brainstorm with your practice coach or consultant on what’s possible; connect with your referring Dr.’s and colleagues to support each other emotionally and lift each other up during this time.
· Make wellness calls to your patients and especially to those who are elderly or have special needs and are home bound. Collaborate with your team to bring essentials to those who are in need. This is the most loving thing you can do for your patient’s right now and, it feels so good!
· Focus on personal goals such as self-care, introducing healthy habits into your routine, get out in nature, exercise, write/journal, read, catch up on professional journals and educational materials you haven’t had a chance to get to; tackle some overdue home projects.
Please don’t be overwhelmed by this. This is intended to support you in identifying different ways you can stay in a creative space and healthy mindset. Choose one or two things that will create the greatest impact for you.
For Additional Information: Spin Markket + Digital, 10 North 10th Street, Fort Dodge, IA 50501 515-302-8026 spinmarkketdigital.com