Working Short-Staffed? Actionable Changes That Provide Practices Relief

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Staffing shortages are not a “new” concept in dentistry, and realistically there isn’t a “quick solution”. With a tight labor market, teams can’t afford to wait for the situation to improve on its own. Now is the time to evaluate and rethink the way each team member is working not only independently, but also collaboratively. Are you certain you’re utilizing each team members credentials to the fullest capacity? Are you cross-training team members to understand both front and back-office duties? To overcome the struggles of having fewer team members, we must be willing to make changes to the way we work that yield better structure and efficiency. Zirc Dental Products has a team of clinical and efficiency consultants that specialize in helping teams identify how to consolidate and streamline their clinical operations to elevate the practices health. Zirc’s consultants provide teams with actionable insight to improve organization that help advance their clinical operational success.

It can be easy for teams to overlook the importance of organization when it comes to dental instruments and materials. The cost of disorganization is high, and clutter and chaos can cause serious losses in productivity. Teams often may not realize the blind-spots adding to the inefficiencies within the practice. Disorganization in the treatment room and central sterilization along with inefficient inventory management, may cause both the staff and patients increased stress. Zirc recognized the struggles and developed a solution specifically for dental teams called Color Method™.

What is Color Method?
Color Method is the process of managing dental instruments and materials by assigning each procedure a different color. Zirc’s Color Method creates a streamlined, stress-free, day-to-day routine from setup to sterilization. Implementing this simple system adds a visual element to both instrument and material management yielding a workflow properly optimized for efficiency. When instruments and materials move efficiently, so do you.

Implementing Color Method in 5 easy steps

  1. Get colorful: Begin by assigning a color for each procedure in the practice.
  2. Instrument management: For optimal efficiency and compliance, it is best to utilize a procedure tray with locking cover to keep everything together. Each set-up should contain an instrument cassette with matching bur holder.
  3. Material management: Procedure tubs become a portable drawer for procedure specific materials. This allows materials to be at your fingertips and easy to find during every procedure.
  4. Central sterilization: Make this space the hub of your practice. Zirc recommends storing both trays and tubs in this area creating a centralized location for grab-and-go organization.
  5. Treatment rooms: Countertops should be free of clutter. Utilize the drawers or cabinets to store disposable products that will be needed for each procedure such as cotton products, gloves, saliva ejectors, etc.

Advantages & Benefits of implementing a color-code system

  • Efficiency. Zirc’s color-code products are designed for the highest level of organization and efficiency for the dental practitioner. Instruments and materials are organized in a way that will eliminate the chance of missing items at chairside.
  • Decrease stress. It’s important that the entire dental team utilize good organization in the workplace to support one another and create a cohesive work environment. Color-code organization will boost team members confidence and provide a sense of security knowing they are prepared with everything needed for each appointment.
  • Working alone. It is more important than ever to have good clinical systems in place as teams struggle with being short-staffed. Because Color Method provides quick easy identification and access, it is effortless to cross-train any team member and allow the doctor to work independently.
  • New team members. Color code systems can enable training to go much faster. Offices can simply train future team members to identify each procedure by color, allowing them to settle into their jobs much quicker. They will be confident they have all the necessary tools and adjuncts at their fingertips. Think about how impressed you would be as a potential new team member with an office that has implemented this organizational system!!
  • Cost-savings.  Cassettes help protect your instruments from extensive damage and prolong their life. Procedure tubs make re-stocking dental materials more efficient by eliminating excessive overstock and lost or expired materials.
  • Time-savings.  Less time is spent in inventory management. As clinical team members you will no longer go from operatory to operatory to evaluate materials needed. Procedure tubs are simply restocked once a week to ensure material management is efficient. You will also notice a significant decrease in the number of times you leave chairside to retrieve missing items and will eliminate the chance of reprocessing errors.
  • Infection prevention. Utilizing cassettes prevents your team from a potential exposure by minimizing the handling of contaminated instruments. The clear locking tray covers allow practitioners to remain compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding instrument transportation.
  • Patient perception. Creating a workspace that is colorful and well-organized will automatically allow patients to feel more at ease in your practice. They will quickly recognize your attention to detail that allows you to start in the treatment room and stay in the treatment room.

More time to focus on what matters most.
When your office streamlines and automates your clinical processes, you have more time to focus on what matters most – your patients! It’s time for your teams to step back and truly evaluate your current operational systems. Identify where your opportunities are for improvement and take actionable steps to help your team thrive now and into the future. With so many benefits, there is no doubt that this small change can improve the overall efficiency and confidence of the team.

Download Zirc’s organizational checklist below to assess your team’s organization. You may be working with fewer team members; however, it doesn’t mean you have to be less productive. Implement simple changes that ultimately creates happier employees and an enhanced patient experience. Thrive in 2022 by elevating your organization to the next level.



CLICK HERE to schedule your consultation with
Tina for a high-level overview of Color Method.



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