Create A Centralized Hub For Dental Office Clinical Support

Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, founder and president of Design Ergonomics

By Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, Founder and President of Design Ergonomics

At Design Ergonomics, our work is based on Office-Centric principles in which Sterilization, Lab, and Resupply are a centralized hub. This is in contrast to a Room-Centric approach in which a practice attempts to keep months’ worth of redundant supplies for all procedures in each operatory.

Dental Sterilization, Lab, and Resupply areas should be in close physical proximity to treatment rooms

Reduce Lean Transportation Waste in your dental practice by keeping Sterilization, Resupply, and Lab areas in a centralized hub

Creating a hub for Sterilization, Lab, and Resupply makes for an efficient center of clinical support. For reduced Transportation Waste, this hub should be located as close as possible to your treatment rooms. Transportation Waste occurs when you move products around your office in a way that is inefficient. Your clients aren’t paying you to run back and forth hunting for rarely used supplies. And trying to stock every room (once one grows beyond three primary doctor rooms) is an exercise in futility.

The size of your practice will dictate the optimal size for Central Sterilization and Resupply. For larger practices (15 plus operatories) we will often locate the area between two clinical “halves” of the office, and create entry points from either side. This also serves as a pass-through corridor for staff and may be used for a quick, semi-private conversation out of patient view. We will typically “pocket” the Lab area off of Sterilization and Resupply to help mitigate sound.

The Sterilization area at Rotem Dental Care. A great example of visual restocking.

The Sterilization area at Altoona Smiles. Hydraulic pulldown cabinets provide easy-to-access vertical storage.

As you focus on your Sterilization area, you should look for an arrangement that provides large work surfaces, and is arranged in a linear flow with easy access to dental instruments, supplies, and storage. My team at Design Ergonomics developed Desergo Steri Centers for my own two thriving dental practices and in 2022 we started putting these systems into production for all of our clients. Desergo Steri Centers provide integrated Sterilization for high-flow dental practices of all sizes.

For more inspiration, take a look at our portfolio of Sterilization and Lab area design work. If you have any questions, please reach out to my team at Design Ergonomics.

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Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, founder and president of Design Ergonomics
Dr. David Ahearn, DDS, Founder and President of Design Ergonomics and Ergonomic Products. To learn a little more about my journey in dentistry, and other principles you can apply to make your practice a fun, easy, and productive place to work, take a look at our This Can All Be Easierplaylist on YouTube. If you enjoy these videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel at Turn on notifications to receive our latest video updates.