Going Green in COVID-19
With the pandemic crisis upon us, we’re experiencing a tremendous amount of change.
Dental practices are adapting to new methods to protect and care for patients. Our standard level of care has been transformed. Measures we’ve taken in the past are no longer adequate.
As healthcare providers, we are at the frontline of how we newly operate going forward. We are on the horizon of great changes. We are the innovators of this new world.
And at this time, is it imperative to look to new methods of going green.
Less material = less contamination.
Everything we touch increases our risk of exposure. We must do our part to protect ourselves and others. Patients look to us for security and their wellbeing.
Simple changes in our consumables and reusables can bring tremendous results.
How to go green during COVID
As we pre-screen our patients for potential COVID-19 prior to their appointments, our office also reiterates a separate screening on the day of their appointment. Both verbally and on devices, we record our clinical notes digitally.
We’ve gone as far as eliminating paper forms; our office has converted them into our software system.
The forms are electronically forwarded to the patient in advance, and they’re made aware that they must be filled out online in order to be seen for an appointment.
The patients are able to fill out forms using their own personal devices, thus eliminating contamination of paper, pens, or our own electronics.
Over 95% of our patients are able to fill out the forms.
Those who are elderly or without the means of a personal device are verbally asked each question, and the form is filled out by staff. An electronic signature is then signed at the office. The stylus is disinfected promptly to reduce cross-contamination.
By making this practical change, patient information is transferred directly into their chart, and at the same time, we are reducing paper consumption.
What are some benefits of going green?
The risk of cross-contamination is greatly reduced when there is less clutter and material exposure.
Additionally, you can reduce your overhead costs with the reduction of paper, supplies, and other misc. goods. That money can go back into the budget to help with updating the office, staff training/outings, and bragging rights.
How about your new level of development?
You set yourself apart from other offices that have settled for complacency – the practices that have done the same routine and refuse to grow because no one questions the subpar.
Set yourself above the norm and become the leader.
Where do you start?
Look around your practice and note all the problematic areas, room by room. Make a list on an electronic device: NOT paper.
Start with your reception room. What does the patient see? What will they touch?
As suggested by the CDC guidelines, all magazines should have been removed from the reception area. Instead of magazines, opt for a TV that streams the following slides:
- Office events
- Community service events
- Staff bios
- Services provided
- Before and after photos
- Patient reviews
- Raffle of the month
- Fun facts
Going above and beyond
Instead of offering bottled water in your office, install a water cooler. Offer mugs or reusable water bottles with your logo on it as a gift to your patients. This logo is a means of marketing and a way to brand your practice.
By doing so, it will eliminate the global impact of plastic water bottles on our environment and serve as a nice reminder to your patients to lessen their carbon footprint.
What about your supplies?
Get together with your suppliers and stress to them the importance of using environmentally safe products for both patients and staff.
This measure is more important now than ever.
With the pandemic, many overnight companies are selling supplies. What chemicals/materials are they using? It’s important to ensure that they are the most effective and, at the same time, safe.
Any changes are better than none.
Your patients will value what your office is doing regardless of how big or small. They will see that your practice cares and is invested in making a difference for both our environment and their wellbeing.
What they will also notice is that you value their community.
It doesn’t stop with them. It’s an investment in the future of children, grandchildren, and the next generation.
While other offices are stagnant, your office has moved forward and evolved. Your practice branched out and now harvests the most fruit while others remain under the shade of conformity.
Are you up for the challenge?
Meet the Author
Claudia Paye, FAADOM is a practice administrator in St. Johns, FL.
In 2016, she was awarded the Henry Schein Green Leader Award, and in 2017, she was named one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry.
Claudia is also a recipient of the AADOM Office Manager of Distinction award. She is a former president of the New York, NY AADOM Chapter… This text opens a new tab to the NYC chapter’s website… and is now a proud board member of the Northeast Florida AADOM Chapter… This text opens a new tab to the NE FL chapter’s website….
For over twenty years, she has prided herself on amazing service to her patients and the surrounding communities.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, running Disney marathons, and listening to country music. She is also a proud mother to four and a new grandmother.