On March 11, the American Dental Association posted guidance for dental practices on its website regarding the coronavirus. The ADA also added an FAQ page regarding the disease and what practices should do to safeguard team members and patients.
Given that dentists and team members work in close proximity with large numbers of people – any of whom may have been exposed to the virus – it makes sense to take every precaution to minimize the threat. The suggestions from the ADA are sound and generally easy to implement.
Right Now, Patient Loyalty is Gold
One thing that the ADA’s guidelines make clear is that it may be wise to ask patients who may be infected to postpone routine dental procedures. According to a recent poll, two-thirds of Americans are concerned about contracting COVID-19. That leaves one-third of the country who either think the danger is overblown or who feel that they’re unlikely to contract the disease or to experience more than mild symptoms if they do.
Those that are experiencing any symptoms can call to reschedule, and many practices are implementing a “temperature screening” in the reception area. It’s important for your practice to ensure for patients keeping their appointments that they know your office is taking every precaution… to make sure that every one of your patients and scheduled prospects knows that your first concern is their safety and wellbeing. You can’t leave that until they’re in the office; you need to be proactive about reaching out to them and telling them what steps you’re taking for their benefit and your team’s.
Here’s the text of that policy sheet which you can send via snail mail or email to existing and scheduled new patients. You might also consider adding the text to your website.
Our patients’ health and wellbeing are always our first priority. In light of the warnings from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention regarding the coronavirus situation, we ask that you take note of the precautions below and follow them to help prevent the spread of disease to you, to other patients, and to our team members.
1. You’ll notice containers of hand sanitizer in the waiting room. Please disinfect your hands prior to handing us insurance cards or using the provided pens to fill out any forms. You may also wish to disinfect your hands again after using the pens.
2. Please inform us if any of the following apply to you:
You’re experiencing difficulty breathing, or have a fever or a cough.
You’ve traveled outside the United States within the last month.
You know or suspect that you’ve had contact with another person who is carrying the coronavirus.
You’ve recently used public transportation (aircraft, subway, bus, train).
You’ve been tested for the virus and are awaiting results.
3. We make every effort to keep our facility and the restrooms as clean and germ free as possible. For your own safety and the safety of others, please use the hand sanitizer after leaving the restroom or re-entering the office for any reason.
4. Since the coronavirus can be spread by touch, we’ll be limiting any contact such as handshakes. Sorry, but it’s for everyone’s safety.
Thanks for helping us help you and all our patients to remain safe. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to ask.
We’ll Get Through This Together
The coronavirus situation is by no means the only challenge that we’ve faced in this country. However, given the spread of the illness worldwide, concern is high for the health of the populace and about the impact on the economy.
In blogs to come, we’ll be focusing on how you can best weather the storm, protect yourself and your team members, and retain as many of your patients as possible. Be sure to check out Thursday’s blog; we’re offering another very useful tool for your use.