Being organized is important for any dental professional. But that doesn't just mean organizing your time and schedule. You also need to make sure your supplies are properly organized so you can easily find and re-order things as needed. Good organization also makes proper sanitation easier, which is a vital part of keeping yourself, your staff, and your patients healthy.
Not only will strong organization and sanitation practices keep people healthier, but they can also lower stress levels and add to peace of mind. It's valuable to know how much of something you still have, when it should be reordered, what's clean and what isn't, and that you're following all compliance requirements.
Here are six ways to keep your dental supplies properly organized and reduce the risk of missing items, running out of stock, unsanitary conditions, and confusion.
1. Label All Your Instruments and Supplies
Labeling everything doesn't take that long, and it's something you should do from the very beginning of your practice. If you're just getting started, take the time to label things now so you'll be fully prepared when you open your practice to patients. If you're already established, it's worth taking some time to get everything labeled. Even if you come in during your time off, it's a valuable thing to do.
You can also enlist the help of your staff, to make sure everything gets labeled appropriately. Not only will they have a better understanding of what everything is called and where to find it, labeling things will expose any concerns over missing or misplaced items, too. By working together, you and your staff should be able to get all the supplies and instruments organized and labeled so you can see if there are problems that need to be addressed.
2. Use Plenty of Bins and Containers
Don't try to put too many things in one place. The more bins and containers you have, the easier it is to see what goes where and to have enough space for everything. If you have a bin with several different items in it -- especially if those items are smaller -- you might not realize you're out of something until you need it. By keeping each item in a separate bin, though, you can see when a supply is running low so you can get it ordered before you run out and need it for a patient.
Which bins and containers you buy are up to you, but clear plastic is usually best for most applications. That way it's easy to see that the right items are in the right bins, and if they're running low. Bins that seal tight but are easy to open are also a good choice. You shouldn't have to struggle to open bins, but you also don't want them to pop open too easily. Loose-fitting lids increase the chances of spilling items onto the floor or other surfaces.
3. Stay Well-Stocked
Keeping supplies stocked is a vital part of staying organized with your dental practice supplies. You'll want to make sure you have extras of all the things you need and typically use. If you don't, you could run out of something right when you need it most. There are usually options for substitution, but that's not always the case. Instead of taking that risk, or having to make a patient wait or come back, it's better to make sure you order plenty of supplies before they run out.
Depending on where you're getting your supplies, they may be easier or harder to get quickly during certain times. If shipping issues or other problems come into play, you could be out of needed supplies if you typically run low. Staying well-stocked reduces that chance, and makes it much easier for you and your staff to give proper, needed care to all your patients. With good organization and storage options, you'll be able to focus on patient treatment and care, instead of supply concerns.
4. Create and Use Guides for Procedure Setup
Many procedures will be second-nature to you and your staff after a while, but it's always a good idea to make sure you don't miss anything. When you have a good guide for procedure set-up, you can follow it and stay more organized. Your dental practice staff can do the same, so they always set things up the same way and you always have what you need at your fingertips. That makes it easier for new staff members to follow current procedures for your dental practice, as well.
5. Make Use of Available Technology
There are a lot of technological options available for dental practices today. They include everything from scheduling to reordering supplies, and from contacting patients to addressing discrepancies in record-keeping and other areas. Make use of all the technology you can, because it gives you the opportunity to focus on your patients instead of worrying about other issues. With options to choose from, you can pick the one that's right for the way you want to operate your practice.
6. Sort the Sterilization Area
The sterilization area is a vital part of your dental practice. It also requires compliance, and has to be handled in a specific way. Make sure it's sorted and organized, so you don't risk violations or patient health. You have some options in the way you organize things, but keeping dirty and clean items separate and having checks and balances both matter.
Learn Other Ways to Improve & Grow Your Practice
To grow your patient list, you'll want to make sure patients know they can rely on you and what you're offering to them. Their dental health is important, and they need to know they can trust you to make sure they're getting good care. By keeping your dental practice and its supplies better organized, you'll be making a commitment to yourself, your staff, and your patients.
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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. does not offer practice management advice. This content is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice.