Introducing New Equipment and Technology
“Dr. Smith” just attended a dental technology convention and ended up buying a new piece of equipment for himself and the hygienists to use. It really doesn’t matter if he bought a laser, intra-oral camera, or new digital x-ray machine - policies need to be set regarding the use of the new equipment. All of the hygienists have been trained using the technology, but they have never used the particular brand that Dr. Smith bought, and the office has never utilized this new technology in the practice.
The doctor and hygienists should have a meeting to go over the proper use and care of the new equipment. First, the hygienists will become comfortable using the new equipment by practicing with it. This will help to prevent them from misusing the equipment and being embarrassed in front of patients because they do not appear confident. It is important for all hygienists who will be using the new equipment to be present at the training, both full and part time.
This meeting will also be used to establish office policy on the implementation of the technology. The staff will make sure they are all on the same page regarding how patients will benefit from the equipment, how often it will be used, when it will be done, and at what time during the appointment it will be done. If need be, they will have research studies and position papers available to help with some of the decision making process, in order to make sure they are providing the best quality of care to their patients. They may even have a consultant or information from the latest seminar they attended to help with the decision making process.
The team will also need to decide what will be notated in the chart for every patient, and a template will need to be made in the computer. The template will create consistency between providers when it comes to the order of the information and what is included in the clinical notes. This is to make the process smoother for everybody. The template will include information that will help guide them in charting everything accurately and thoroughly in the patient records. For instance, what procedure was performed, what area was treated, were all safety measures utilized, and what future recommendations were made, if any.
Decisions will need to be made regarding the role the treatment has in increasing production. How exactly is the new treatment going to increase production? How much will be charged? Will it have an individual fee? Is there going to be an additional charge? Will it be incorporated into an already existing fee? Will that existing fee be increased in order to help with the additional cost of the new equipment? If the new equipment is an intra-oral camera, there may not be an additional charge, and the increase in production may come from the patient acceptance rate when it comes to treatment recommended. What will be said to patients during presentation? What verbiage will be used in order to increase treatment acceptance? Is there any additional paperwork that will need to be given in order for the patient to make an informed decision? What will the paperwork say? Who will present the paperwork and go over any questions with the patient?
The doctor will lay a lot of the groundwork and then bring it to the hygienists if they will be performing the treatment. Then they will bring it to the staff meeting to help educate the entire staff. With any procedure performed or equipment utilized in your practice, it is important for the entire team to be educated about the risk, benefits, and alternative treatment. Whether it be probes used for probing teeth, or why root planing is recommended to patients - the entire team needs to be on board with any treatment recommended to make it as successful as it can be.
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