For Dental practice owners the idea of undertaking a dental fitout, is not something that happens overnight. Often it takes months or years to push the button to proceed with a dental fit out.
As we are all aware innovation moves quickly these days, so it is important to consider new dental trends and to ensure your fit out will be up to date and not out-dated before you even start your dental fiitout.
Increasingly, patient behaviour can influence future dental practice designs. So here are a few things to consider for your dental practice design.
Payment areas separate to patient waiting room
In almost 100% of current dental practices, the payment desk is located in a common room to the waiting room. In practice, having the payment area and the reception desk within the patient waiting room can cause issues with privacy. We have all heard reception staff reading aloud personal information like phone numbers and home addresses for others to hear. Whilst they may be ensuring their patient information is up to date, this sensitive information is for all to hear. Most recently, there has been numerous media articles about hackers receiving private information about people. In practice, these hackers could simply sit in the waiting room of a dental practice and achieve the same outcome.
Accordingly, there is a move to separate the payment area to the waiting room. Designing a dental practice with a separate payment area can also encourage patients to relax. It enables patients who have just undergone dental procedures not to splutter and slur their way through the payment process in ear shot of other patients in the waiting room.
Having a separate payment area, allows staff to quickly identify which patients require help with payments and potentially to make a return appointment. It also allows reception staff to talk more freely about dental fees. For larger dental treatment’s often patients wish to talk about payment plans. Too often we overhear reception staff talking about costs that can exceed $10,000 dollars. These discussions are easier to have with less ears. These sorts of examples support the idea of creating a separate payment are to the waiting room.
The COVID years has certainly encouraged patients of all ages to become more familiar with remote login to software and the use of mobile phones. We encourage dental practice owners to consider a self check-in idea.
The process of self check in allows patients to advise their arrival on-line. This will enable each patient to review their personal information and approve that it is up to date or make changes discretely. This process also supports the need for increased privacy. Self check-in would cease reception staff reading out patient’s private information aloud when they are checking patient details are up to date.
Public touch screen check in booths where patients can check themselves in and can approve or update their personal details. Some dental practices also allow self check-in using apps and patient phones. Both solutions are sensible and work well in practice.
Self check-ins also have the added benefits of patient distraction. This simple process can help patients take their minds off their upcoming dental appointment.
Departure waiting lounge
It is common for patients not to feel 100% after dental treatment. For patients who wish to take some time to recover before the trip home or elsewhere, the idea of having a safe lounge room to recover is certainly gaining momentum. Often puffiness and numbing can cause patients to require time to recover.
Often these rooms will have a peaceful ambiance with warm lighting and soft comfortable furnishings.
These exit waiting rooms may also incorporate a chair and table for patients to get some work done whilst recovering – maybe even before they return to work or school.
These exit waiting rooms designed for patient comfort and certainly show a genuine care for your patients well being.
Up to date dental equipment
As technology advances it is most important to place the latest equipment in your dental fitout.
Areas of enormous growth is dental imagery. This intelligent software can scan a patient’s mouth and can produce 3D imagery of the teeth instantly. This imagery is often used by orthodontists and also for preparation of sporting and grinding plates. The process to take the images is often less than 5 minutes and is non-invasive.
Providing up to date dental equipment can help to instil a feeling of trust by patients. Research has also indicated that up to date equipment is a huge factor in patient retention.
Dental fitout plan
A detailed dental fitout plan is critical to the success of your dental fitout. Who you choose to partner with is a key to the future success of your dental practice. Ensure your builder or fitout partner is qualified in dental design. Ensure they are up to date with new ideas.
Ensure you spend time thinking and investigating which new ideas are right for your dental fitout. Not all of these new age ideas are right for all dental practices but these suggestions can be great food for thought.