Maximising efficiency and comfort
John Rafelt discusses the benefits of putting patient and staff efficiency, comfort and ergonomics first.
Modern dentistry is all about making life simple, comfortable and efficient for both patients and professionals in practice.
After all, with so many advancements and technological breakthroughs, it is remiss for professionals not to embrace a more ergonomic way of operating. Especially as this can have multiple benefits.
Finding solutions that save time and provide seamless results is key.
But what are ergonomics and how can you view your practice with achieving a more ergonomic future in mind?
Ergonomics is one of those buzzwords that is actually very simple.
Basically, a more ergonomic approach means streamlining the work environment to make it more efficient and comfortable for all involved.
This can include big changes that impact every member of the team. As well as smaller changes that help individuals to achieve results in a more predictable and efficient manner.
The positives of thinking ergonomically
Ensuring your practice is more efficient will have a number of positive impacts on your business as a whole.
For example, time-saving solutions not only mean that you can better utilise your time in practice and boost productivity, but they are often also likely to be financially beneficial as well. Time is money. Freeing up time with solutions that allow a more streamlined approach is only a positive step forward.
Furthermore, comfort is a huge consideration to bear in mind.
Ergonomically designed products and pieces of equipment/technology are hugely beneficial in the long run. Especially as they can help prevent certain injuries that are common among dental professionals.
Muscle strains, shoulder discomfort, neck and back pain and hand injuries are all routinely reported by a significant proportion of dental professionals (Shaik et al, 2011). We could avoid many of these injuries by using products and equipment that don’t put so much strain on the user.
This will result in a more seamless and pleasant user experience. As well as less time spent out of action seeking treatment for pains and more significant, persistent health problems caused by work routines.
Another benefit is that ergonomics in the workplace generally helps to improve employee engagement. People are aware when you take measures to put their wellbeing and comfort first.
By taking these steps you can help reduce instances of absenteeism. And even cut the rate of staff turnover, as employees will feel valued in their position.
Think big and small
The best thing about taking a more ergonomic approach in your practice is that you can implement these ideas in a huge variety of ways.
Every single workflow you follow, design decision you make and product you use is likely to be impacted by ergonomics. Therefore you can focus on becoming more ergonomic in many different aspects.
The best first step is to talk to everyone who works in your practice. See if there are any areas that need improvement in terms of comfort and efficiency.
Perhaps your receptionist has a chair that is causing backache. Or there is a piece of equipment you use that is uncomfortable for patients.
It’s easy to hone in on problem areas once you involve everyone. This will allow you to seek ergonomic solutions to the main complaints, instantly improving the workplace for everyone.
You also have to think of how ergonomics can benefit you from an individual standpoint. The products that form the bulk of your armamentarium should be comfortable and efficient to use. Especially those that you are likely to need on a daily basis.
For composite treatments, Filtek Supreme Flowable Restorative from 3M Oral Care is an ergonomic choice.
Featuring a specially-designed syringe that helps to prevent bubbles and material run-on during and after dispensing, Filtek Supreme Flowable Restorative from 3M also boasts a bendable cannula for easier placement and a triangle finger plate for easy grip and enhanced comfort.
Make life easy
Ergonomics, in a nutshell, is all about making focused improvements for a positive impact.
By speaking to staff and identifying problem areas, as well as investing in products that help you approach daily tasks in a more ergonomic manner, you will soon reap the rewards.
3M and Filtek are trademarks of the 3M Company.
Shaik A, Rao S, Husain A and D’sa J (2011) Work Related Musculoskeletal Disorders Among Dental Surgeons: A Pilot Study. Contemp Clin Dent 2(4): 308-12