While the comfort of your patients is vital, the importance of ergonomics in the design of your dental practice environment cannot be understated.
Incorporating ergonomic design in the planning of your dental clinic not only facilitates better health for staff. It also drives increased productivity and patient satisfaction.
We look at how design can help deliver an ergonomically healthy dental practice.
A relatively new branch of science, ergonomics has been around for 70+ years. The purpose of this science is to create safe, comfortable and productive workspaces. This is achieved by considering human abilities and limitations when designing work environments.
Many dentists find themselves adjusting their bodies to fit their work practices. Coupled with recent research showing that lower back pain is the world’s most common work-related disability, it is an important aspect of your fitout. The difference with ergonomics is that workspace, products and systems are designed to fit the people who use them, rather than the other way around.
The selection and placement of equipment can also help you achieve complete freedom of movement. This greatly reduces the risk of musculoskeletal pain
Ergonomic equipment options are becoming more widely available and affordable. Some of the most popular options include:
– Operator stools with tilting backrests for better postural alignment;
– Patient chairs with narrow upper backrests to allow closer access for both dentists and assistants; and
– Delivery systems with easy retrieve and return handpieces that eliminate pull-back, resulting in reduced fatigue.
Achieving an ergonomic dental clinic goes well beyond having the right equipment. Your floorplan, surgery layout, and overall practice workflow all need to be considered.
Having designed and fitted out dental clinics for many years, the Elite team have a thorough understanding of how dentists work. We use this knowledge to design your dental clinic floorplan to achieve functional balance. This includes incorporating clinical function, technology integration and ergonomics.
When designing your practice, we take the time to understand your practice needs – now and in the future. Daily average number of patients, types of treatment you offer, and how your staff work together are all details that we consider.
By understanding your practice traffic and workflow, all areas – including clinical, public and staff areas – can be appropriately sized for optimum function based on purpose of the space, the number of occupiers, and future expansion. This allows for realistic spatial allowances in treatment rooms for dentists and staff to move freely, but without any unnecessary wasting of space. It also allows for optimal placement of equipment.
In considering building design safety and compliance, ergonomics reflects on the characteristics of who uses a facility and their relevant attributes. It also looks at when and how they use it, and how people see, move, understand and sense their surroundings.
Our in-house design team have extensive experience in designing dental clinics of all sizes. To get tailored advice for your dental clinic fitout or practice refurbishment, give the Elite team a call on 1300 765 34.