Whether or not to have a consult room has become a debate among many dentists. It’s all about what you "need" versus what you "want", so the simple answer to the question of whether your office really needs a consult room is determined by your personal practice philosophy.
Is a consult room for the dentist or is it for the patients? Some may declare "It’s a waste of space. I don’t use it. I do all of my case presentations chair-side. Besides, it saves time and the need to change settings from the treatment room to the consult room when everything can be presented and sold while the patients are already in the chair anyway." From the production perspective this reasoning does have merit. For the majority of dentists, the consult room is not just a must-have but a necessary part of their practice’s business functions.
More and more dentists’ offices are being designed with semi-opened treatment rooms with doorways in lieu of doors. These provide little to no privacy for discussion of treatment plans and/or financial conversations. Providing a neutral zone, away from the clinical hub, where both dentist and patient can relax to discuss treatment plans and financial options is often ideal. As opposed to being surrounded by equipment and instruments and/or being trapped in a dental chair, consults rooms provide a comfortable, peaceful space outfitted with quality seating. They often resemble a private library or reading room where the chaotic world can be shut out, behind closed doors, for as long as needed. The Consul Room can be valuable real estate with great returns for the practice.
Another area of benefit, more so for the practice than the patients, is confidentiality. Private spaces can assist a practice in being compliant with regulatory requirements associated with HIPAA. This is more difficult, if possible, to achieve within an open door space.
For smaller practices with limited floor area having a dedicated consult room may not be an option. However, the same floor space can serves multiple functions which may include any and all of the following combinations of use: Doctor/Consult, Office Manager/Consult and Checkout/Consult. To have or not to have: whatever your particular preference or scenario may be it’s better to have a consult room and not use it than to need a consult room and not have one.
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