How to Set up a Dental Office from Scratch
Congratulations! After years of hard work, you are now thinking of opening your own dental practice. Just like any business venture, setting up your own dental office from nothing can feel like a daunting experience. Having a clear goal and meticulous business plan will help you tick essential items off your list such as legislative requirements, insurance, location etc.
The creation of a business plan, securing funding and documenting your professional goals are core principles of launching any business. But, whether you are building your dental practice from scratch or buying an existing practice, it's time to learn a few lessons that they don't teach you in any dental or business school.
Essential tools at your disposal are your time, resources and commitment to bring your dream to life. However, before jumping straight into solution mode and buying equipment, fixtures, computers, and consumables, it's crucial that you stop and think about the foundations of your shiny new dental office.
Designing Your Dental Practice for Success
When entering a supermarket anywhere in the world, you will typically be greeted by the bright, vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables. This immediately sets the tone for a healthy shopping experience. The reality for many dental patients is that many of their encounters with your business will involve overcoming their fears and any anxious feelings around dentists.
From the moment they approach the doors to your reception, it is crucial that the surroundings are indicative of the quality of the care they expect to receive. Drab waiting rooms and out of date magazines are not going to put your patients at ease. But, where do you start to create a unique experience for your patients?
Warm, inviting color schemes and home comforts such as free wi-fi access are just a few nice touches that can help put visitors minds at ease. Interactive screens can also make the environment appear more professional, and television screens or soft overhead music will also add ambiance to your waiting area.
You too can also set the tone of your waiting room by providing a comfortable setting that will help relax patients and even decrease their perceived wait time. A warm, relaxed, professional and inviting dental practice that puts patient comfort at the top of its agenda will be more equipped to provide a superior dental experience fit for a customer-centric age.
Many dental patients arrive with perceptions based on their childhood experiences. You can also help eradicate any fears by introducing state-of-the-art equipment and dental technology. As a modern dental professional in a digital world, you can further prove your commitment to the welfare of your patients by providing them with the advanced technology that is guided by traditional patient care.
Advances in dental tech now make it much easier to ease the anxiety and discomfort associated with their visit. Some dental practices also provide additional touches to make the experience as stress-free as possible. For example, music streaming and noise-canceling headphones for lengthy procedures can block out the sounds that have traditionally raised stress levels of patients.
Beyond dental equipment, you will also need computers, software designed for medical billing and much more. Leverage your contacts within the industry to help you find a reputable company that you can work with to obtain affordable, and quality equipment is also crucial.
Choosing the Right Software
Remember that dental practice management software is equally as important as your dental chairs and the essential items on your equipment inventory lists. How you schedule your patients or manage their dental records, billing, and insurance claims will all require software that will determine how efficiently your business operates.
Do not rush into signing up to any software solution without researching and understanding what each solution provides. Embedding the right management software from the beginning will save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run
You Are Not Alone
Although you are armed with a vision to set a new standard with dental care, you need to accept that you cannot do everything on your own. Rather than making needless mistakes and wasting time, reach out and learn from other dental industry professionals that have been there before.
Surrounding yourself with experts who can help guide and help mentor you through the challenging formative years of your dental practice will increase chances of success. Larry King once said, "I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening."
When setting up your own dental office from scratch, you need to listen to your colleagues, peers, patients, and experts within your field of expertise. A combination of researching, listening, and networking will help you build the foundations of a dental business that is designed for long-term success.