UPDATED: 17 March, 2020
Canada, along with the rest of the world, has gone into a frenzy with the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. People have become wary of going out unnecessarily to avoid infection. You may have even noticed a higher number of cancellations at your dental office. This isn’t surprising since patients want to be in the safety of their own homes.
In order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, organizations and especially health care providers must take the necessary precautions to keep their facilities and tools sanitized. On top of the recommended infection-control practices, here are some tips to keep your office a safe space for your staff and your patients:
Install Hand Sanitizer Dispensers
Depending on the size of your office, it’s a good idea to install a number of hand sanitizers around your clinic that’s easily accessible by patients. Great areas to station these sanitizers are outside washrooms and by the reception or front desk. This way, patients are able to clean their hands as soon as they arrive, as well as after leaving the washroom (the door handles are high risk for transmitting diseases).
Schedule Time for Sanitization
Your sanitization schedule should be even more rigorous these days, especially when your patients could bring in viruses or germs unknowingly. Schedule “sanitization slots” on your appointment book in Paradigm to remind staff to sanitize their workstations, the waiting area and high contact areas (e.g. door handles). If possible, you can even block off time each day to carry out this process. While this may not be the best for your office’s productivity, maintaining a clean environment will ease patients’ minds being there.
Provide Masks at the Clinic
Some patients coming in might feel more “safe” to wear a mask in the waiting area, especially if there are also other patients waiting. Have masks available to those who might ask for one. If you’ve mandated that your staff also keeps a mask on during clinic hours, gently remind them that the mask needs to be changed every time they have to take it off and disposed of correctly. However, do note that masks that don’t create a tight seal or are worn incorrectly won’t be effective in protecting against the virus.
Keep Patients Informed
The best way to keep your office a safe space is to keep your patients informed. Let your patients know of procedures when they arrive at the office (e.g. sanitize hands) and advise them to reschedule if they’re feeling unwell. The best way to send out these reminders to your upcoming patients is by sending out automated texts with programs such as My Contact Pro. This saves you time from keeping track of all your patients and ensures that every patient knows what to do upon arrival. If you office is closing for a period of time, this is also the best time to send out a bulk text to all your patients.
While there is an air of unease around the city, the risk of infection can be greatly reduced if everyone does their part in maintaining their hygiene, such as frequently washing their hands. Your office can make it easier for patients by installing hand sanitizer dispensers and providing masks to limit transmission. Routine sanitization will also prevent potential infections within the office. However, the most important factor is to ensure that your patients are informed of how the Coronavirus is spread and therefore consider rescheduling their appointment if they are feeling unwell.
For offices who will remain open to service their community, we appreciate you and thank you for your commitment to the industry and your patients. We wish for good health and safety as we navigate these trying times. If you have any questions regarding your Paradigm Software or how to best use My Contact Pro during this time, please feel free to contact us!