Building Efficiency at Westgate Dental Creates a World of Opportunities for Husband and Wife Team
When Dr. Peter Kics started Westgate Dental Care in Arlington Heights, IL he was by himself in a 1,500 square foot space with four operatories. “At the time, I wanted to be able to do as much dentistry as I could for my patients, to take care of them, and that meant I was in the office 12 hours a day, five or six days a week,” he says.
He was fortunate that his wife and business partner Teja was able to stay home to care for their two young children. But it meant that Peter was working flat out to serve his patients.
“I was always trying to be available for my patients,” Peter says. “And over time, when my patients needed specialty services, they frequently said they didn’t want to go somewhere else.” He decided to grow the practice to make it possible to have this care under one roof, adding associates and specialists in oral surgery, endodontics, and implant surgeries. “I wanted to be able to do as much of the dentistry as I could for my patients, to take care of them,” he says. “And my goal was finding good doctors who cared about our patients and who were willing to learn.”
About a decade ago, Peter realized that he had been expanding in ways that serve patients but not in ways that allowed him and Teja to enjoy the results of their efforts.
Creating more room for dental practice growth
“We went from about one million to about three point five million dollars in revenue in about five years which was pretty impressive,” Peter says. “But we were busting at the seams. My hygiene was packed for two months out, which is not good business. We were productive, but there was zero room for growth. We realized we were stifling our growth, because we were unable to take care of some patients with emergencies. We just couldn’t see them, so we knew that we had to find larger a space.”
Peter describes himself as a business owner, but first and foremost as a clinician. “It’s a balancing act,” he says “We decided we needed a larger facility to make sure that patients get the best care possible. I want a family practice feeling, but with corporate efficiency.”
Once they decided to grow, Peter and Teja investigated taking over an existing building in Arlington Heights. However, with dozens of employees and local community ordinances covering the number of parking spots for a practice like theirs, they couldn’t find existing space that fit their needs.
They realized that new construction was the way to go. “I was intimidated about buying land and building a new building,” Peter says. “I had never built anything, and a commercial project was terrifying.” However, the more that he and Teja discussed the project, started looking for suitable land, and met with the professionals he would need to work with, the more they realized the time was right for such an undertaking.
Join us on October 7, 2022 for an immersive, on-site workshop at Westgate Dental Care in Arlington Heights, Illinois, one of the nation’s best dental practices. In a single day, our Over the Shoulder Event will teach you key strategies and techniques to increase dental office production significantly. You will also learn how to make your office a fun and easy place to work for you and your team as well as a more comfortable environment for your patients. We want to thank the Westgate Dental Care team for opening their office so others can learn from their success. Space is limited. Apply here.
While they were working through the purchasing process, Peter and Teja consulted with Design Ergonomics to plan the layout of their new building, starting with a conceptual Blocking Diagram to determine the optimal flow for the practice. From there, they worked with Design Ergonomics on a Floor Plan, along with determining the practice technology and dental equipment that would make them most efficient.
“We built it out for 20 operatories eventually,” Peter says. “We have 20 operatories plumbed and ready to go and we’re using 15 of them right now, so we still have room to grow.”
A dental practice built from the ground up for efficiency and comfort
Peter and Teja say that the biggest benefit of the new dental office design is the efficiency that was built in starting from the earliest design phase of the project. Using what Design Ergonomics refers to as Office-Centric layout, the practice is able to live the principle of any procedure, in any room, at any time. “All of the rooms are designed exactly the same way,” Peter says.
Peter points out that “Our hygiene rooms and the rooms where we do operative dentistry procedures are the same. The fact that we’re able to go into any of the rooms and know they are identical has been very beneficial. We also built efficiencies into our lab and sterilization setup. The entire process is far more streamlined than a typical dental office. It’s been important for growth to where we’re now serving 1,500 patients a month.”
Benefits of an “office-centric” dental practice layout
Peter and Teja’s Office-Centric layout provides many benefits that contribute to their ongoing success:
- Reduced cost – Eliminating the need for bulky cabinetry in the ops and reducing excess supplies carries extensive financial benefits.
- Reduced time – Setup and breakdown of treatment rooms, reordering and restocking supplies, and transitioning to unexpected procedures all require less time. This allows staff to do more procedures in the same amount of time, or do the same amount of procedures in less time.
- Reduced treatment room size – Without side cabinetry, physically smaller ops can be built that feel larger. This allows you to get the same number of ops in less space … or more ops in the same space.
- Increased Scheduling flexibility – With each room set up identically to accommodate the staff’s 90% Procedure Profile, and the remaining 10% accommodated through mobilization (e.g., with RapidCarts), it’s possible to see new patients, handle specific procedures, do hygiene, or treat emergency cases in any of their ops. They can schedule procedures throughout the day and all available rooms are viable.
- A simpler system – By setting up the system up once and letting it run, inventory control is more manageable and less time–consuming. Introducing new products into the system becomes a common activity with measurable results. Staff training can be standardized and automated and staff member’s capability is judged by chair-side performance, not the ability to memorize and organize lists.
Teja agrees on the benefits of efficiency in the new office. “There’s very little waste,” she says. “When you think about the volume of patients we’re serving, all the supplies we order are clearly laid out, and we know where everything is. That helps us to budget better and negotiate on prices which is good from a business standpoint.”
Now that the new building has been up and productive for a few years, Peter and Teja have achieved their goal of building a larger more efficient practice while maintaining a hometown feel. “We work very hard to maintain this beautiful building that we have” Peter says. “We get excellent reviews on it. Patients love the flow of our office, the size, and the convenience.”
Westgate Dental Care is now a Design Ergonomics Regional Center of Excellence, hosting Over the Shoulder Events for other dentists who visit their practice to learn about how dental office efficiency starts with design. “I enjoy being able to tell everyone that a project like ours will be worth it” Peter says. “But I also say it’s not going to be easy. You must work with the city and construction partners. I always tell people to make sure you’re ready when you take the project on by getting very familiar with what’s required. We’ve never built a building before, so just familiarizing ourselves with the process—buying land, creating a plan, receiving bids, financing — it’s a year’s long process. Just make sure you’re ready to take on the project.” And Teja adds “I advise working with Design Ergonomics. They’re phenomenal. They listened to everything, and they know what they are doing.”
Enjoying the benefits of the efficiencies they created as a team
After the hard work, and years in the small office, their life has been transformed. The new large office allows Peter and Teja to enjoy much more time away from the practice to relax and enjoy the fruits of their effort.
“We’re both very active and we’ve been empty nesters for a few years now,” Peter says. “I’ve been taking golf up again and I have a dog that I like to walk. We have a place in Colorado, and we like to be very outdoorsy when we’re there and now we can spend a lot of time out there. We enjoy skiing and we like to spend summers there too. We fly out frequently and keep up with the business from afar. We get our reports, so we know what’s going on. I’ve gotten to be very good at keeping up even when I’m not in the office. All the efforts have been worthwhile.”
At Design Ergonomics, we offer a wide range of dental practice design, renovation, and remodeling services ranging from improved inventory and sterilization, to creating additional operatories within your existing footprint. From capacity, to aesthetics, to work-flow, we cover all aspects of the dental office improvement spectrum. Speak to a Design Ergonomics Practice Liaison to learn if we are the right fit to create the ideal dental practice for you.