How can you future proof your practice?
For your dental practice to survive in a constantly changing and fast-paced marketplace, it needs to be flexible, adaptable and responsive. The strength of your 5 Foundations will dictate how easily you are able to adopt change and evolve to meet future demands.
So how do The 5 Foundations underpin the realities you face today as well as your practice’s future goals?
Foundation 1 THE DENTIST
With more competition, higher levels of debt, having families later in life and the government increasing the age of retirement and your access to superannuation, many dentists will be working into their late sixties if not their seventies. But the big question is will they be able to manage this physically? A career in dentistry makes serious demands on the mind and the body and managing those demands is no small task.
Looking after your health is more important than ever before because without it the longevity of your career is compromised, not to mention your overall quality of life. The things you do today to attend to your physical and mental wellbeing will go a long way towards setting you up for a long and happy working life.
Foundation 2 THE ENVIRONMENT
The nature of the environment you work in affects your wellbeing both in the short and long term. Healthy and happy team members are an extremely valuable asset of any practice because they will be the ones to ensure that patients are healthy and happy too.
Staff and patients cannot help but respond to their surroundings and that response can be positive or negative. Previous generations might have put up with less than ideal work environments but the younger employees of today and tomorrow expect more.
Creating a workplace that nurtures the team and the patients is now essential and the benefits you receive from doing this are directly related to the prosperity of your practice. The environment you operate in forms part of the scaffolding that will help to future proof your business.
Foundation 3 THE TEAM
The team is pivotal to the patient experience and hence the practice’s success. Both employee and employer expectations have changed significantly over recent years and they will continue to evolve. The incentives and support that were once offered may no longer be effective leaving your team members feeling disengaged and unfulfilled. And anything that affects the team will inevitably affect the patients.
Creating an engaging culture, arming the team with the right tools to do their work well and investing in them and their happiness is the only way to establish a successful team and to retain them long term.
Foundation 4 THE SYSTEMS
Developing an all-encompassing system that caters for your practice’s unique needs is essential. It not only ensures consistency in standards and performance but also enables maximum output. Having the right systems and sub-systems in place and understanding their purpose and their integration with each other allows you to adjust quickly and effortlessly to change as your practice evolves.
The pace of advancements in both dentistry and technology is rapid and it’s not likely to slow down so your systems need to be able to keep up if they are going to carry your practice into the future. And smart and adaptable systems will go a long way towards preventing the loss of patients as well as the loss of staff and your investment in them.
Foundation 5 THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE
Patients today are more informed than ever before. Tools like the internet and social media can strongly influence their desires and expectations and make it very easy for them to compare services. Competition in the dental sector is fierce and that is unlikely to change so constantly refining the patient experience you offer is crucial.
Understanding what makes your patient base tick is fundamental and requires much more than simply attending to their dental needs. Developing and nurturing relationships with your patients allows you to keep up with their ever-changing desires and expectations. In turn, patients offer you their loyalty and goodwill which can translate into the referral of new patients.
A great patient experience is constantly evolving - what was exceptional service five years ago is now standard and what is exceptional now will be standard in five years time.