Pandemic caught you off-guard?
Did the shutdown of the world catch you off-guard in March? Stand in line because I don’t know anyone that wasn’t surprised at how extensive it became. Covid-19 blasted the entire world, turning it upside down and inside out. The biggest shock is just how long it has lasted.
When the shutdown occurred, we were all frantically trying to figure out what to do and how to handle our situation. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of being caught off-guard and not having a plan. This is something that has driven my husband (and Denise) crazy for many years. I like knowing what to do, what I am going to do and what is expected of me. I guess that is the hygienist in me. This is one of the reasons you hear me talk about systems and protocols all the time. It gives us the rules and how to accomplish our tasks.
I am thinking there are many of you out there similar to me that like to have that plan in place. And even though we did not have one for this pandemic before, now is the time to start thinking about getting plans in place for anything that may be thrown your way. Let’s not get caught off-guard again.
The question is how do you prepare for something you do not even know is coming? You could not have completely prepared for everything we went through over the past 7 months. However, if you have protocols in place for all tasks and systems in your practice, as well as for emergency situations that arise, you will be armed with the tools you need to confront any roadblock put in your place.
The systems and protocols you are putting in place need to be written out and reviewed with your team on a regular basis. There were a number of new systems dental offices had to put in place before re-opening their doors. This was very cumbersome for the offices that already had their normal systems locked down and working well. It was even harder for offices that had to add these systems to an already rocky workplace.
At GTS, we have a whole list of protocols that we implement in dental offices (email info@GTSgurus.com for a little cheat sheet) however, I would like to address the protocols needed for emergency situations. Like, what happens when the office must close for any length of time? (This may be due to a pandemic, fire, natural disaster, etc)
Do the employees get paid? If yes, for how long? Do they use PTO?
Does someone come into the office daily to handle the phones? If yes, then who? When? What hours?
What happens to the patient appointments? Do they get rescheduled to a later or date or called and told the office will call them back?
One we would not have thought of before is: what happens if an employee comes in sick? Or a patient? How is this handled and what is that criteria?
All the systems for the previous questions should be written out and reviewed with every employee in the office and then any new employee as they come into your practice. The information regarding your employees, such has how they get paid, what to do if they are sick, if they will be required to come into the office…all should be in your employee manual.
We know this has been an incredibly stressful time for everyone, and that was going to happen regardless due to the uncertainty of this pandemic. We have not had to deal with anything like this before, so that is always tense. However, getting prepared now for things that may come ahead is important to keep you sane in the future. Get those protocols written out, don’t let that slide any longer. If you need help, we are just a phone call or email away and happy to help you!
Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, Consultant
At age 14, Janice Janssen got an after-school job working for her dentist. Twenty-something years later, she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions and an expert in practice consulting.
Besides hands-on experience, Janice has gained professional recognition for her hard work and commitment to excellence. She is co-author of OMG! Office Management Guide, the “bible” used in GTS training workshops. She is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), which positions her as an expert in educating dentists to deter fraud and embezzlement in their practice.
Janice can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org