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Dr. Justin Bhullar and Dr. Paul Etchison discuss best practices and strategies for a strong reopening. This is part one of our series “The Strategy of a Grand Re-Opening”

Dr. Justin Bhullar and Dr. Paul Etchison

Justin has practices in Alberta, Canada and Paul is outside of Chicago.

What should doctors be thinking about right now?

We are hoping there is some lead time to prepare, but there are a lot of questions as to what it will look like. Even if we open as usual, expect a drop in production due to patient hesitation and budget or benefit loss. Consult with your team on how they want to participate. For supplies, prepare for what you need, especially regarding PPE, but don’t go crazy. For scheduling, you may have more cancellations at first. Ramp up your production ability and possibly prioritize treatment according to need.

A lot of the reopening will be based on feel. They may not realize the risks, so he’s expecting people to come back quickly. Play up your sanitation efforts. Now is also a great time to renegotiate your PPO fee schedule.

Have you talked to your team and how did you approach it? He has done a Zoom meeting as well as an anonymous survey. SoGo survey is an option that is not free, but there may be some free ones out there such as Survey Monkey.

The strength of the relationship is important. If you manage remotely, have the closest touchpoint person reach out in addition to what you are offering as the owner. Overcommunicate and stay visible.

How has it gone with your associates? We talk and message often so that we can communicate. Make sure they know you have their back and tell them the plan. Set the expectations and work on the plan.

Don’t put anyone in your office that doesn’t feel safe. Find out what they would need to be comfortable, otherwise, it’s not a good working environment. The biggest thing is to maintain communication with your team.

What are your steps to get ready? In about 2 weeks they are hoping to bring everyone back to practice new safety protocols and review training. Then a meeting with your team leads to direct additional training to prepare to open. If it’s emergency only, it will not include hygiene, and hours would go to those with seniority first. Text patients to confirm their appointments.

Start with building your schedule and confirming appointments. Texting is okay, but phone calls help build relationships.

What are some things we should be thinking about once reopening? Make sure to take time for family and try to keep a good routine. Get back to your regular sleeping schedule as well.

Their group Dental Business Mentor is designed for training docs and their team. It is an online platform that addresses the problems and how to correct them. The online platform is not only convenient, but it gives you a chance to pause, go back, and ingest the information. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

What is your advice for navigating the current climate? We are going to be okay. We have the time to educate yourself and become better. Try some new routines and see what you can change for the better. Stop and visualize what you are thankful for. You can’t be both grateful and angry at the same time, so focus on that. Your effort will multiply, so put the time in and don’t be passive.