Designing the “Perfect” Dental Clinic Workflow
When we describe the “perfect workflow”, or “perfect layout”, we want to be clear that there is no single perfect workflow or layout. Rather, we are talking about the importance of designing the “perfect” layout for your dental clinic that leads to an optimal workflow.
After designing, constructing, and fitting out dental clinics for 30+ years, we know from experience that a cookie-cutter approach to dental clinic layout design can often result in poorly optimised, inefficient dental spaces for both staff and patients.
Dental clinic design is a major step in your new or renovated space. However, too often does “workflow” become secondary to overall aesthetic in this process. While creating a beautiful, inviting space is important, if it doesn’t allow you and your team to practice dentistry to the best of your abilities, it starts to lose its shine.
Workflow + Efficiency = Profit
In other words.. Poor prior planning = poor performance
Taking the time to get your dental clinic right for the specific needs of your clinicians and staff leads to long term success. The easier you make daily tasks for all staff within your clinic, the higher your potential earnings will be due to a higher level of efficiency.
If you are considering cutting costs on design, consider the future impact this may have. Less time spent on layout design (with patient experience and practice efficiency front of mind) means you are potentially costing the clinics earnings in the long run.
Investing in design that reflects the way people move and work within the dental clinic is key.
Micro-moments such as clinicians and assistants having to move slightly further than they need to for instruments and small equipment. This may seem insignificant in isolation but that extra time and effort over thousands of moments over a year adds up considerably. This is just one of numerous examples of the importance of creating a workflow that works for you.
Other considerations should be:
- Storage room location
- How people move around the dental clinic e.g. from waiting room to treatment areas. Are there potential bottlenecks?
- Map out your equipment – both for ease of use and storage
- Sterilisation area and lab location
- Consult rooms and new patient journey
- Administration areas
- Payment and checkout – private if possible
While the fundamentals of a great dental practice layout remain the same, requirements and needs shift from practice to practice and clinician to clinician. Your layout should be the product of the service/treatments offered and clinician’s needs.
How does this all come together? What should you be looking for in a design and construction partner? Ideally, you would want a trusted partner that can manage all facets of a project, from site procurement and town planning through to design, construction and fit-out.
Having an integrated design and construction team maintains internal control across the spectrum of a project, giving you a higher level of collaboration and control. Everyone is on the same page, from designers to the build team, and most importantly – you, the client.
Common pain points at this stage are time and money. Limiting the time and cost of a project is front of mind for dental clinic owners. These are natural thoughts in any business but going in with this mindset potentially limits the long-term success of a dental clinic.
A little extra time and thought at the beginning can make all the difference to creating a successful, efficient dental clinic. Think beyond the now and invest in a plan for that aligns with your future ambitions.