March 24, 2020
With the Prime Minister Modi now announcing a national lockdown to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus, dentists are likely to enter a long period where they would not be able to operate their clinics. We suggest you take your mind off from the immediate losses you may be facing, and consider keeping yourself busy with one of the following activities.
Plan for near-term hiccups
Many experts believe that the COVID19 has triggered a recession, which may not end soon. With less money in people’s wallets, dentists may have to work extra hard to convince patients for expensive treatments. Plan your clinic’s target audience and overheads bearing this in mind.
The post-COVID19 world will also be one where patients are very particular about sterilization and disinfection. It will be important to showcase how your clinic follows best practices in sterilization and disinfection.
Become a digital literate
I have observed several dentists end up spending a lot more money than required on creating websites and marketing their clinic online. Now that you have some time, try your hand designing a website. For beginners, we recommend Wix for static websites and WordPress for dynamic ones.
You could also pick up digital marketing basics from YouTube tutorials. At best, you’ll be able to manage your own campaigns. At worst, you’ll still be able to have more informed conversations with your digital marketing vendor.
Showcase your great work
If you don’t already, start showcasing your past work in groups on various social media platforms. One such group is ‘Endohaveli’ on Facebook. You can also take it a step further and use the free time to draft detailed manuscripts of exceptional cases performed by you. You could then submit it to relevant national and international journals.
While attending live courses may not be possible, explore webinars by international experts on topics of your interest. Pick up innovative methods of performing clinical procedures and try to include them in your practice.
Catch up on your reading
This is a good time to read up dentistry-related books which could give you the next big business idea. We recommend ‘How to Build the Dental Practice of Your Dreams: (Without Killing Yourself!) In Less Than 60 Days’ by David Moffet and ‘Dental Practice Hero: From Ordinary Practice to Extraordinary Experience’ by Dr. Paul Etchison.
Count your blessings (and fortunes)
Analyze your revenue growth and profitability. You could do this comparing year-on-year or month-on-month revenue information. You may also analyze the share of repeat vs. new patients, billing, collections, revenue generated per month and per patient, and make note of any seasonality that you observe.
Plan for the long term
Bank interest rates are likely to come down drastically in the post-COVID19 world. Plan in advance so you can make the most of the cheap credit available. For the long term, consider providing your clinic an aesthetic makeover. Also consider upgrading your existing equipment or adding new equipment.
I hope you and your family stay calm, well, and resilient.
About the author
Dr. Shilpy Bhandari is a Hyderabad-based Periodontist and the founder of Dentistry Insider. She has worked extensively across dental clinics of all sizes — from large corporate chains to small, independent setups.
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