By Danny Chan
The gateway to a successful dental practice is a well conceptualised, designed and built dental office. Whether you are a young dentist striking out on your own or have plans to relaunch or expand an existing business, setting up a surgery can be an overwhelming experience.
Top-of-mind considerations like property lease, fit out and equipment supply are usually enough to occupy all your available time and energy. The trouble is, you may be focusing on these aspects of the set-up at the expense of other nitty gritty – but no less important – ones like legal, ergonomic, workflow, electrical, plumbing, installation, just to name a few. You can be easily blindsided by the enormity of the undertaking such that crucial elements – which may prove too costly to rectify at a later stage – get left out of the equation.
Addressing these unspoken challenges, that indeed, many entrepreneurial dentists are struggling with is the Surgery Setup Academy (SSA). Do not let the scholastic term fool you. The Academy is not all theory and little action. In fact, they offer assistance from the ground up, extending throughout the set-up phase and beyond.
SAA comprises experts from all the relevant fields, including: Property Lease, Equipment Supply, Legal Advice, Dental Consumables, IT Integration, Software, Technical Installation, Fit Out & Construction, Sterilisation Workflow, Project Management and Business Development, etc.
Organised by Henry Schein Halas, the interstate event essentially serves as that missing link in dental tertiary education everyone has been asking for.
“In a nutshell, we are providing end-to-end solutions for dentists to fulfil their dreams of operating their own surgery. Offering invaluable expertise and support, in collaboration with a vast network of third party vendors, what we’re really providing is a peace of mind throughout the set up process,” says Andreas Schulz, Lead, Surgery Set Up Academy.
“The goal of the seminar is to give each attendee a foundational crash course – including an overview, well-designed roadmap and task list – whether they are setting up or relaunching a surgery. However, it should only be the starting point of an ongoing and consistent exchange of data, knowledge and expertise.”
Setting up Bonfire Dental
It was Andreas’ late-2016 proposal to the Executive Team at Henry Schein Halas that led to SSA’s formation. Launched early 2017, SSA lectures have since covered all the major cities in Australia with each seminar attracting 20-70 participants. So far, over 250 people have attended the nascent lectures.
Among them are Dr Linh Quach and Dr Tran Quach, Co-Founders of Bonfire Dental. The twin sisters run a total wellness healthcare establishment in Queensland that incorporates yoga, chiropractic and dentistry. Being dentists, they focus on Total Body Dentistry using an integrated approach aimed at the overall health of patients. Having just sourced a location for their new dental clinic, they attended the SSA seminar in November just to make sure they were on the right track in the set up process.
“We wanted to create a dental clinic that is as efficient, productive and stress-free as possible. We figured to do so required a clear understanding of the operational workflows and systems in a dental practice. The SSA event gave us an overview of the requirements and to-do lists in a concise timeframe,” says Linh.
The sisters gave the event a 7.5 out of 10 score – mostly for its comprehensive overview, equipment demonstrations and expert-fielded Q&A session.
“Had they included a segment with a dental and medical accountant, it would have been a perfect score. We could have used some information on budgeting for initial dental clinic setup and accounting basics for running a dental clinic.”
Thankfully, and as Andreas had mentioned, the SSA event was just the beginning of Bonfire Dental’s close working relationship with the team at Henry Schein Halas. Bona fide experts who walk their talk, the HSH/ SSA team eventually got involved at every stage of setting up the dentist’s office.
The dentists had two main contact persons in Andreas – credited as the out-of-box visionary who imparted business wisdom and confidence – and Emma Addy, the Equipment Specialist who guided the entire process: Equipment selection; surgery design and workflow; staff training in sterilization workflow; infection control and equipment maintenance.
“Emma believed in our vision of integrated wellness from the get-go and was exceptional to work with every step of the way. As our main liaison contact, she worked tirelessly outside office hours to help troubleshoot issues and basically led us throughout the set up process,” Tran commends.
Including Andreas and Emma, the dentists had direct access to a 10-person specialty team. The respective specialists helped to coordinate the project while bridging the information gap between the various trades – for example, construction with electrical and plumbing; IT and software integration with technical installation, etc.
“Our builder and his team from Phnx Construction, although highly experienced in the residential sector for their modular designed concrete homes, were taking on their first dental clinic build. HSH worked side by side with them throughout the whole construction process. They were very patient, professional and experienced in all their dealings with our appointed contractors,” Linh continues.
“Emma and her technicians conducted onsite visits and coordinated the vital checkpoints along the process to make sure everything was installed correctly and the building stages were double-checked, before the next stage commenced.”
To illustrate HSH’s level of involvement, their technical team even provided installation templates to the builder to ensure correct pipes for electrical and water supply were laid according to technical specs of individual dental chair models.
Bonfire Dental purchased the bulk of their equipment from HSH, including dental chair, x-ray machine, sterilization equipment, lab equipment, small equipment and consumables.
One-stop shopping has its merits, as Tran assesses:
“The one thing we all lacked was time. By making all our purchases with HSH, we were able to save not only time but there were also massive cost savings.
“HSH also provides ongoing support, reliability in delivery of products and professional troubleshooting with any complications with the equipment and materials.
“Apart from cost savings, we knew that the materials were of high quality and the equipment and software HSH put together would integrate and communicate seamlessly.”
Describing their overall experience working with HSH, the sisters chorus:
“They are world-class professionals and experts in their field. The HSH team goes above expectation to help clients and delivers incredible ongoing support.”
What about the SSA event that got the ball rolling? Linh calls it “a great starting point to understand the fundamental stages of building a dental clinic”.
“More importantly,” Tran adds, “it allows you to connect with experts that are ready to help you execute and put your dental vision into action.”
Surgery Setup Academy evening lecture and day-long events occur 2-3 times a year in all states. For more information or to find out when the next event is being held near you contact Henry Schein Halas on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website www.henryschein.com.au.