How much time and energy do you spend in unproductive effort every day? If you’re like most dental practices, the answer is easy: Too much! Studies show that even successful practices engage wasting time, and often, it’s no one’s fault or choice – that wasted time is by design.
Careful planning and organization of your dental office’s workflow can save you precious minutes from the time you open to the time you close, allowing you and your staff to get more done. Time is money, and those minutes add up! In fact, studies have shown that re-designed offices optimized for efficiency of movement and workflow experience as much as a 30 percent increase in productivity. Here are three ways you can improve your dental office workflow and reap the benefits.
1. Embrace a new shape.
The most efficient office shape for optimizing workflow is the Horseshoe, where patients enter through the waiting area, are greeted by reception, walk through the hall to the treatment room, and walk out the other side. Each patient keeps going in one direction, almost like an assembly line. Another time-saver is to make all treatment room the same size, located close together in a row, and stocked with the same supplies, so any regular service can be performed in any available room – preventing patient delays and appointment bunching. The close spacing reduces time spent moving between rooms, boosting productivity.
The shape of treatment rooms themselves also impacts productivity. Many dentists prefer an “H” shape, with two doors behind the patient and two more doors at the foot of the chair, allowing for easy entrances and exits by dentists and staff.
2. Invest in the right lights.
Not only should your treatment rooms be well lit to prevent eye-strain, headaches and fatigue, they should be furnished with curing lights. Nothing wastes time more than looking for the only curing light in the office! The other two lights to optimize are the ambient lighting and the task-lighting on the chair. Ideally, the ratio between the task light output and the ambient light output should be 5:1.
3. Optimize Cleanup.
Dentist’s often overlook the time spent prepping and cleaning treatment rooms since they’re not usually there to see it. If a tree falls in a forest…? But when you want to improve the productivity of your entire office, optimizing cleanup is a great place to start. You might want to adopt a system of prearranging instruments, pre-measuring materials, and centralizing sterilization. Not only will this make cleaning the treatment room easier, it’ll decrease your supply inventory, making everything that much easier to find.
Big ticket or small fixes – there are many ways you can make your dental office more productive through design and good old-fashioned organization. Ask us how you can reap the rewards of a well-designed office space – contact us for a consultation today!