Going green is familiar territory for many Americans and a lifestyle that is rapidly growing. From reusable bags at grocery stores to energy efficient light bulbs to hybrid cars, eco-friendly solutions are on the rise. With consumers relying more on their values, I have listened to my patients and am taking steps toward becoming a green practice.
Businesses have become environmentally conscious, using a variety of techniques to achieve being green. Here are a few tips that we employ in our practice, on our way to being green!
PAPERLESS. This seems like the most logical place to jumpstart your eco-friendly office. No more pulling charts, mailing out claims and wasting reams of paper per day. There are numerous companies that offer dental software, providing a convenient and ecological option. The computer-based programs include, patient charts, electronic claim filing and referrals all at the click of a button. Going paperless not only saves paper, but also decreases your bottom line. Offices average over $6,500 annually in stamps!
EMAIL & OTHER TECHNOLOGICAL REMINDERS. To coincide with our paperless system, we use additional computer-based software that works in conjunction with our dental software, to communicate with our patients. It provides patients the ability to confirm their appointment, request an appointment, billing, receive birthday greetings and any other important information from our practice via phone or email.
DIGITAL X-RAYS. It’s no coincidence of the connection between the environmental choice and the high-tech choice – and digital x-rays is only the beginning. With the technological advancement of digital x-rays, “patients are exposed to 90 percent less radiation than they would be with traditional x-rays (AGD, ‘It’s Easy Being Green’).” Not only are digitals beneficial for the patients, offices don’t have to run through the process of printing each x-ray and when referrals are needed, there is no extra step for the patient, since we can email the treating doctor the patient’s x-ray. Besides the time factor, with digital x-rays, there is no longer a need for the toxic chemicals used to print – fixer, developer, etc.
STEAM STERILIZERS. Which brings me to my next topic, get rid of the toxic chemicals used to sterilize equipment and use the eco-friendly steam sterilizers. Steam Sterilizers subject the instruments to high pressure steam, sanitizing and ridding the instruments of any bacteria. Again, you do not have to spend the time or money purchasing, stowing and discarding of those chemicals; which in turn, provides cleaner air in-office for your patients. Generally speaking, decreasing disposables is a must, while still complying with OSHA.
WELLNESS-BASED HEALTHCARE APPROACH. This is a service in our practice that we offer to our patients. We tend to focus on preventative dentistry and overall health by working with our patients to not only better their oral health, but also their wellbeing. By incorporating a wellness-based approach to our patient’s treatment, we can limit their number of visits to our office, not to mention their physician’s office, and reduce their costs in the long run. Education on nutrition in turn creates a better quality of life. Prevention is the answer! Stay well, and limit your physician appointments to wellness and check-ups only. Doctors are paid to treat disease, not prevent disease. We all have to take responsibility not only our own health and wellness, but for our environment. Eat your GREENS!!!
There is a common misconception that going green isn’t easy, but in reality you just need to take that first step and the rest will follow. These are just a few of many green tips used at our office. Being green undoubtedly has more benefits – for both the patients and the practice. We all need to do better; and together, we can make a difference.