Nailing That First Impression. It Boils Down To Safety

First impressions are important. We only have one shot at this, right? Whoever is answering the phone at your practice needs to always be on top of his/her game. This is the person who sets the tone for the rest of the call, nevermind the rest of your practice. Half the battle is getting patients in the door.

Patient retention is built on touch points. Before COVID, you would wow them with a nice reception area loaded with amenities like coffee, tea, juice and sometimes cookies. That is simply not the case these days. Your patients want to feel safe the moment they walk in the door. From the front of the house to the back of the house, safety is on everyone’s radar.

When you work for a dentist who owns two dental practices and founded companies that serve other dentists, you have to be prepared to have solutions when a crisis strikes – especially when it directly affects your industry. Dr. Ahearn has been prepared for a pandemic like this since 1993 and a new product was quickly born into the Ergonomic Products line of dental office equipment solutions – The Ergonomic Products Safe-T-ShieldTM.

While some manufacturers were offering up quick fix, grab-the-money-now solutions to contagious air, Dr. Ahearn felt obligated to consider the future standard of care. The Safe-T-Shield is the only extraoral aerosol evacuation device that creates a negative pressure zone directly above the patient’s mouth while providing a true barrier to droplets and virus-containing bugs. A mobile version of the Safe-T-Shield was Ergonomic Products’ first line of defense. But why stop there?

The dental office designers at DE led by Paul Leonard and Gabriel Pearlman teamed up with ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning) and HVAC engineers to discuss dental office design including implementation of the Ergonomic Products new Safe-T-Shield ducted to a dedicated, central vacuum. That’s right, Safe-T-Shield protection in every op and integrated into your HVAC system or exhausted outside.

When Dr. Sergei Shirman, in Charlotte, North Carolina, planned to open his future dental practice, he contacted Design Ergonomics. Tim Gagnon, Practice Liaison, headed up the project and saw it through from start to finish. Dr. Shirman chose to equip his new practice with Ergonomic Products. His final floorplan and treatment room details were ready for the architects in February 2020. Then, COVID.

During the mandatory shutdown, Dr. Shirman had his Ergonomic Products equipment installed. He added two mobile Safe-T-Shield units into his practice before opening his doors to treat patients. He wanted to offer great dentistry with marketable safety measures that would attract new patients and potential new hires to his practice….and he is off to a great start! He made the local news. Take a Look!


Now that’s a touch point a patient is willing to pay for. Since then, Dr. Shirman made the Ergonomic Products Safe-T-Shield a permanent fixture in four of his seven operatories becoming the first dental practice with installed Safe-T-Shields.

Back to the patient and I’ll include staff retention….. What are you doing that sets you apart from the 200 other dentists around you? What is your value proposition? Safety is the first line of protection against the revolving door. Remember, your patients and staff remember 10% of what you say and 90% about the way they feel.

The Safe-T-Shield is steadily becoming the most sought after innovation in medicine since this whole pandemic started – plastic surgeons, ENT’s and cosmetologists to name a few. More notably, state, government and federal agencies have been approved for funding and are anticipating installation of the Safe-T-Shield into healthcare facilities across the country, a clear sign that the industry should consider the device The Future Standard of Care.

Author Angie Bachman