YOUR TIPS IN GOING ABOUT THE NEW NORM IN YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE
As we are about to truly face head-on CoVid-19 virus in June and go back to dental practice and observe the new normal, how can we really protect ourselves, our staff, and patients as we go about to do our profession? We wish there's a guaranteed answer/s to this problem that's one and fits all, but, there's none. It is because we are in between a rock and a hard place. It is a battle between protecting our health and surviving with financial stability. Both are equally important for us to go on and live the way we think we need as human beings. So, as we battle who comes first, health or economy and what to do, there are somethings we can do to balance this out and be able to have a fighting chance to win this battle.
By observing the quarantine imposed by our own respective governments to protect our safety, we had more than 70 days to figure those out on what we are going to do based on our own circumstances as to what's our next step/s to deal and address our own economical status in our own dental business. And, even if our own situations have its own differences and uniqueness, there are still general ways we can use as a guide to be successful in adapting to the new normal in practicing our profession.
KNOWING AND UNDERSTANDING
If there's one thing that you can "bring to the bank" so to speak, it is arming yourselves with factual knowledge and fully understanding these facts' relevance and impact to your own lives. You must not just know but you need to discern well what to believe as facts and those that are not. We all know that our era is the digital and social network age, and, anyone who is well verse to this with personal hidden agenda can create a narrative according to his/her goal/s to sway the general public or market in accordance to his/her objective/s. Thus, we cannot anymore hide our heads in the sand and just go with the flow. One must learn how these things work, so, we don't easily get persuaded to believe everything we hear and read. For example, having a post shared several times over and several people seem to agree with the post doesn't automatically follow that the post is true. Even fact checkers hired by social medias such as Facebook may also need another group of people to fact check them. So, if we end up putting the buck to another person's hand on something we don't know as we don't want to be bothered to double check the things we read and hear, then, one will be very vulnerable to these supposed "fake news" and we may end up deciding and putting into actions solution/s in our own lives base on this that may not even be true. In the end, in order that we can arm ourselves in deciphering this, we need to do the following:
- Always take whatever you read and hear with a grain of salt. Never immediately decide one way or the other if the news you read or hear online or from other people as true or not unless the person or media giving it to you is someone or something above reproach.
- If in doubt, trust your instinct. Go with your gut feel.
- If the news or post shared is something critical and can affect your life or business, always double and triple check. Listen and read both sides of the aisle before deciding. You know best what’s good for you.
- Avoid basing your decision on your own biases and selfish agenda. Always decide what you do know as unquestionable righteous actions and values as a human being gifted to think and free to choose.
- Be cautious and alert but have empathy to other people's plight.
Knowledge is not enough if we don't fully understand its impact to our own lives and others. Thus, when we finally know the facts, then, we need to fully analyze and understand these information and on how we can relate these factual knowledge to our own circumstances with consideration to others. For example, in our practice, if we already know what CoVid-19 virus is and base on what's only factual information, we can more or less assimilate and understand its impact to the way we practice our profession. It is now critical that we put into action solution/s on how we can protect ourselves, staff, love ones and patients as we go about our business, but, our method/s in doing so should be tempered with emphatic consideration/s for others such as not putting so much financial burden to our patients. We know that if we invest too much on all of these protective gears and equipment we will end up passing the financial responsibility of our own buying decisions to our patients. Therefore, we must process our decision/s on what to buy for health protection with both logic and empathy to others base on facts.
NOTE: If interested to know facts about CoVid-19, watch this:
Get in depth about Infection Control:
Part 1: Exposed: Infection Control Webinar Part 1
Part 2: Exposed: Infection Control Webinar Part 2
YouTube Link Part 1: Exposed: Infection Control Webinar Part 1
YouTube Link Part 2: Exposed: Infection Control Webinar Part 2
For More Q&A from Dentists to Dr. Jean:
YouTube Link Q&A Part 1: https://youtu.be/Hbcu6vbhAhw
YouTube Link Q&A Part 2: https://youtu.be/vpqW8_h9guo
It is understandable that some of us ends up purchasing so many products and equipment to protect ourselves from contracting this CoVid-19 virus, so, every time there seems to be something being sold that can protect us and seems logical, we sometimes end up purchasing them without much care of its financial impact to us. This is not the way we should be handling our buying power. As they say, don’t make decisions when you’re highly emotional and agitated as most of the time this will lead us to the wrong path. This is exactly the same here. Don’t purchase something out of fear and we just go and jump right into the bandwagon of what everyone else is doing. This is not the most logical way to go in protecting ourselves from the virus as well as balancing it with our financial status. Right now we don’t even know what’s going to be next, so, it is critical that we save our money, be more or less debt-free and be smart buyers. So, how do we do that? Here are the following tips:
- Know and assess your current financial state. This is not the time to fool ourselves and count income that’s not yet in our hands. Count only the cash and what you fully owned and not still on loan from the bank or any other organization. This is truly how much you are currently worth.
- Know your current short and long term investments. Meaning these are investments that may bring income to you one way or another in the coming months or even years. Smartly assess these investments if their chances of surviving the economic slump that this pandemic will surely bring in the next coming months. This will enable you to know if your do have a safety net. For example, if you have other businesses like properties for rent, this is the time to evaluate if the people renting your place can afford to continue to pay you. One way of doing it is knowing what industry these people are currently working in. If they are in online business, chances are they will be able to pay you whatever goes on with the world in the next few months brought about by this pandemic, but, if they work or have business that deals with non-essential products and services like gyms, salons, etc, they may not be able to pay the rent if worse comes to worst. You can now to assess if you can include this as a future income for you to tide you over when further financial upheaval occurs in the future.
- Know your actual monthly expenses at home and in your business. This will allow you to know if the current cash you have can actually sustain you for how long. If it isn’t enough, then, you have to figure out what else you can do to increase your financial status.
- Know your liabilities. If you have current loans, see if you can talk to your bank or the organization you are in debt with to re-organize it and make the monthly dues more affordable for you if worse comes to worst. Never decide not to honour your loans as this will catch up with you in an even worse case scenario later such as interest rate and penalty charges or even worst legal liability.
- Spend what only is truly necessary. During our quarantine, we are able to survive not having a lot of things except the basic things like food, electricity, water and now internet service. Thus, if you can continue doing this way of spending, your savings will go a long way before it dries up.
- In your dental business, assess the average # of patients, income and liabilities you do have prior to the pandemic. With logical and smart thinking, assess now the probabilities of these things with the new normal of how we will end up doing our dental practice. If your dental practice doesn’t earn much to begin with and you firmly believe it will even drag you down further during this new norm of dental practice, then, considering its closure may not be the worst decision you should be doing. Cut the ties while you can still salvage certain income from your dental practice and use this to invest in another business that you can study and adapt to bring you income rather than more debt. However, if your dental practice can survive based on your factual and logical analysis, then, if you need to purchase anything to handle universal infection control, then, don’t buy anything not for long term use. If you can afford to pay cash, then, pay cash, but, if you need to loan, then, make sure that the payment scheme is something you can truly afford to pay along with your other debts, if there’s any, even if the worst is yet to come.
The new normal on how we practice our profession will have a different whole new meaning. You will be bombarded with a lot of advices, guidelines and information on how you should go about things. That’s good, as we’ve mentioned, arm yourself with knowledge. However, as with all these guidelines and advices, the bottom line is the buck stops with you on what you will finally implement in your private and business life. DMD CEnter like everyone else who are providing you information can only give you advice and, hopefully, accurate and unbiased factual information to help and support you once you decide and take into action your decisions. One of these decisions is what to buy for infection control when you go back to doing your profession and at least be able to balance health and economic dilemma we are all facing. Here are some of our tips:
- Buy only what’s truly necessary. Don’t go overboard with a lot of things you may not actually need nor be able to successfully implement in your practice.
- Make sure when you buy, you know the answers to the following questions:
(a) Is the manufacturer, distributor and brand of the product and/services someone you can fully trust?
(b) Is this something you can still use even after this CoVid-19 pandemia?
(c) Will this add value to the way you practice and deliver your services to your patients in long term?
(d) Will this optimise the way you do your dental practice like save you time and energy?
(e) Can you or your staff truly maximize its function, be able to study its function and use it with ease, and maintain with less hassle?
(f) If you will loan its payment, what’s its depreciation value?
(g) Besides price consideration, can the seller provide you parts and service for maintenance and repair in the future? How long is the guarantee and warrantee? If it’s the usual 1 year is given, how much will be the repair and maintenance? If it has consumables, how much will it cost and how long before replacement?
(h) If it is consumable, how long is its shelf-life?
(i) Does the product or service can actually deliver what it advertises to do? Does it have 3rd party information and documents that can attest to its performance and reliability?
(j) Are you willing and able to handle its financial cost and upkeep if in case you can’t pass it on to the end user, which are your patients?
- Know if you have a reliable back-up support if you suddenly mess things up and make wrong decisions especially financially.
- Do not panic and be ruled by fear but be alert and conscious that whatever you decide now will affect your future or will have consequences or benefits.
- Develop and start good habits both personally and professionally. As the saying goes:
“Watch your Thoughts
For they become Words.
Watch your Words
For they become Actions.
Watch your Actions
For they become Habits.
Watch your Habits
For they become Character.
Watch your Character
For it becomes your Destiny.”
Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy and that’s where we are right now. Our life is worth a hell of a lot and no matter what we do if we don’t prioritize it as #1, then, everything else doesn’t worth a damn thing. What’s money if we are dead? So, as we balance our health and economics, health always trump up more than anything else. However, this doesn’t mean we will go crazy in protecting it, we just need to be calm, logical and street smart in doing so. And, our financial capability in doing so needs to significantly be considered into the picture as it is the major currency on how we can protect our health and almost everything else in order to decently survive this current pandemic war in our midst.
Dr. Jean Galindez – Writer | Editor