As dental practices shake off shutdowns due to coronavirus, dentists from around the country credit Spear Practice Solutions for saving their practices from uncertain financial outcomes and setting them up for a successful second half of 2020 and beyond.
Using principles that have also been deployed to all Spear members through the Practice Recovery Program, Practice Solutions clients have enjoyed tools designed and facilitated by Spear management experts who've helped numerous independent dental practices mitigate financial strain and prepare for the “new normal” in a world still coping with COVID-19. The program, available to all Spear members, provides clear steps through a framework of 4 Key Initiatives to develop an action plan for financial stability and team alignment in a time of crisis.
Now, as more dental teams seek confidence at work as more patients return, the demand for immediate and measurable results has never been more critical for keeping a practice economically viable. Having a support system of real-time analytics, a dedicated consultant, team training and prescribed learning —that is Practice Solutions.
Here's what Practice Solutions dentists have to say about their own recoveries from the crisis.
Support during COVID-19
When North Carolina shut down due to the COVID-19 health crisis, Dr. Callan White made a very difficult decision to lay off his staff. Even his wife, who is also a dentist, stopped working for the practice. He was understandably angry, frustrated, and wary about the practice's future.
In early April, Dr. White attended Spear's virtual Practice Solutions workshop titled “Leading in Turbulent Times: Navigating the Chaos and Creating New Norms.” He said these few days were a pivotal point for him. When he saw the framework the practice management experts at Spear had created for practice recovery, he felt empowered to take the tools provided and implement his recovery plan.
Dr. White first secured additional financing for his budget, and then he intentionally hired back team members as needed. He armed his hygienists with real statistics about the risks of coming back to work, and he outlined all the steps he'd taken to mitigate those risks. They unanimously chose to come back to work.
About 90% of their patient flow has returned, the entire staff including two new hygienists have been hired back, and Dr. White is hopeful this will be business as usual for the foreseeable future.
Essential with a capital ‘E’
Meanwhile, at another North Carolina dental practice, Dr. Christopher Roberts watched the practice he built from scratch in 2001 quickly become less and less financially stable when the pandemic began.
With the talk of economic collapse all around him, the words “essential” and “non-essential” meant for him dividing his outgoing cash into essential and non-essential expenses.
Although the monthly expenditure for Practice Solutions came to mind as one of those he had to evaluate, it didn't take him long to realize Practice Solutions was “essential with a capital E,” Dr. Roberts said.
From the day he notified his Spear consultant of his shutdown she immediately put him and his team to work to make sure they were focusing on the recovery. Team members communicated regularly with patients during the shutdown, which proved to be vital to the practice when it came time to reopen.
Because his team was strategic about rescheduling, they focused on patients with needs who were ready to not just be seen, but who were also ready for treatment. In the end, May was a great month of recovery for the practice and June is shaping up to be the best month ever in office productivity and efficiency. His team worked hard on the recommendations and guidance from his Practice Solutions consultant to ensure a profitable 2020.
“Was Practice Solutions essential? You bet. Was Practice Solutions worth the money spent when I had zero incoming cash flow? You bet. Would I recommend Practice Solutions to other dentists? I did so before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and I will continue to do so now with even more gusto – you can bet on that,” Dr. Roberts said.
Leading in the age of COVID-19
When Dr. Beth O'Connor of Lakewood, Washington, heard about COVID-19 she believed a pandemic was inevitable. She immediately ordered PPE and initiated new safety protocols early on before the virus spread. Dr. O'Connor also anticipated the shutdowns and completed as many restorative cases as possible before closures.
When she temporarily closed her practice, Dr. O'Connor furloughed her team and encouraged them to seek unemployment benefits. She immediately reached out for support from peers, her Practice Solutions consultant, and the experts at Spear. In between treating emergency patients, Dr. O'Connor watched webinars, attended virtual seminars, and followed a strict schedule to ensure her time was spent as productively as possible. She started to prepare for reopening by following the recovery framework provided by Spear.
Dr. O'Connor was able to reopen her practice and bring back all her staff, as well as an additional team member. In a very short time, their office transformed patient care. She is proud of her team and thankful for the patients who continue to trust in their expertise.
Leadership in crisis
Dr. Matthew Rogers originally joined Practice Solutions to get impartial feedback on the business side of his practice. The Connecticut dentist knew he was a strong clinician and had excellent leadership skills but wanted new ideas and suggestions to help his practice run even smoother.
Practice Solutions helped Dr. Rogers and his team implement new ideas such as photography which in turn increased case acceptance. He also worked with his consultant to get a conservative budget and savings plan in place.
When COVID-19 hit, Dr. Rogers's priority was the safety and health of his patients and his team. He and his team scaled back their schedule and met regularly to share COVID-19 news and discuss concerns. Once the office shut down completely, he and his team watched Spear Online videos and Spear webinars and continued to meet virtually.
They worked with their Spear consultant on their practice recovery plan to prepare for their reopening. Because of their conservative budget and savings, team members were able to work part-time through the entire crisis. Now, the practice is reopened and operating within budget while meeting the financial and safety concerns of their patients.