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Multispecialty Practice Builds New Office for Superior Patient Experience
Racine Dental Group

Issue: Spring 2015
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The sheer size of Racine Dental Group is likely what visitors will notice first when they pull up to the sprawling 58,000-square-foot building. This modern office, set on five acres on the growing west side of Racine, Wisconsin, has three floors and offers care from dentists in nearly every specialty—all under one roof. The patient care is comprehensive and state of the art, but thanks to advanced equipment and the vast experience shared between its 19 doctors, Racine Dental Group is also quite efficient, with every part of the large practice integrated so a patient can move seamlessly between doctors.

The patient experience is what drove this group of dentists to consider building a new structure. Racine Dental Group was founded in 1969 with five dentists, but in the decades that followed, it continued to grow dramatically and add doctors and services, so additions were added to the original building.

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The soaring atrium is open and bright, characterized by it’s rich woodwork, walls of windows, and stacked stone walls. Patients are welcomed in this reception area by concierges who guide them to their doctor’s office.

“There was generally a poor patient flow through the building, with tight quarters for doctors and patients alike,” explained Dr. Thomas Scherrer, president of Racine Dental Group. “We had limited parking and increasingly difficult access to the building due to growth in the area over time. We also encountered problems with properly implementing some of the newer technologies due to lack of planning in the previous additions.”

After Henry Schein’s Field Sales Consultant Jeff Tracy conducted a practice analysis that showed how a new office would have a positive return on investment, the group decided to move forward.

“Henry Schein was the obvious choice as our current product supplier, the resellers of much of the desired equipment we were interested in, and they were local with a long history of great service,” said Dr. Scherrer.

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The emphasis on serene earth tones and simple, natural lines is carried through in the colors and fabrics of the upholstered chairs and also in the beauty of the rustic bench seating.

Mr. Tracy explained that with a project of this magnitude and such a large number of doctors in the practice, it could have been difficult to move through the process and make decisions. However, an executive committee—consisting of four doctors and led by project managers Dr. Derf Simes & Dr. Allison Emery—oversaw the build and kept everything on track efficiently.

Glass, Iron, Wood, and Brick Elements

The design of the Racine Dental Group building itself is spectacular. With a generous use of glass, iron, wood, and brick, the contemporary architecture has the lines of a prairie-style building and the inviting warmth typical of that style. When patients approach the front entrance, the covered drop-off area is a welcome convenience on rainy or cold winter days. They enter into a magnificent reception atrium that soars 30 feet into the air, from floor to ceiling. The walls on the left and the right are glass, from bottom to top, where they meet the richly stained wood-beamed ceilings lined with abundant canned lighting fixtures. The rustic natural-textured floor tiles, earth tones, and the simple lines of the burnt orange, tan, and black furniture are casually elegant.

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The operatories, equipped with Pelton & Crane Spirit chairs and Helios 3000 lights, are identically designed and organized. All have windows to the outside and accomodate both right- and left-handed clinicians.

The dominant feature in the atrium area is the stately check-in desk, which sits in the center of the room, flanked by a stacked brick wall and a faux ceiling suspended by heavy cables. Concierge greeters welcome Racine Dental Group patients and either escort them directly to their doctor’s office or introduce them to a new patient coordinator who spends time with them gathering history and other information before leading them to their appointment.

Even though the practice is massive, it does not feel cold or impersonal because of a smart design that breaks the space into five smaller treatment pods or suites.

“With the layout of the pods, patients get a more personal feel in the practice, so the design was well thought out,” explained Dan Kroeger, Henry Schein’s Equipment Sales Specialist. “The overall ‘big’ clinic feeling went away, even though there are 82 treatment rooms in the facility.”

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The sterilization center located within each pod is equipped with Midmark M11 and SciCan Statim autoclaves, and offer easy in and out with their U-shaped design.

Right now, 67 of the treatment areas are fully equipped, with the remainder slated to be finished in the future, as increased patient loads require. There are a total of three general dentistry pods spread among two of the floors, a pediatric department, and a specialty department. Administrative offices are on the bottom floor along with the onsite lab.

Each general dentistry pod has three dentists and a total of 15 chairs; each room features the Pelton & Crane Spirit line of chairs and Helios 3000 LED lights. Some of the doctors were apprehensive about purchasing the new lights versus moving the existing ones, but now, said Mr. Tracy, their skepticism has been replaced with satisfaction in how well they illuminate, feature a “No Cure” mode, and remain cool to the touch. The dental chairs, too, have proven to be more comfortable not only for patients, but also for the doctors and staff, because they are more ergonomical.

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When equipping such a large practice, savings in water usage and electricity can make a significant difference, and the RAMVAC dry vacuum system delivers, providing heavy-duty power and efficiency.

Each pod also has its own dedicated U-shaped sterilization area just steps away, equipped with the best in technology. The VistaPure water treatment system ensures the most high-quality, pure water is accessible for the sterilization process as well as throughout the practice.

Specialists Right Down the Hall

“At Racine Dental Group, we are also proud to provide our patients with the option of seeing a qualified specialist right here in our building,” said Dr. Scott Munro, one of the owners and a general dentist in the practice. They have specialists in endodontics, pedodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery.

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The generously sized learning center is used frequently for continuing education workshops.

“The specialty area hosts a larger-sized surgical suite to provide the necessary space for equipment used in sedation dentistry and more complicated procedures,” continued Dr. Munro. “The recovery area provides a place for our patients to rest after their treatment. All of these features permit our patients to be treated by a specialist while coordinating with their general dentist in one location.”

Because patient experience was the motivation behind the new building, it made sense that it was the starting point for the
entire project.

“The building was designed from the patient treatment areas out,” noted Dr. Munro. “It was important to us that each treatment area be similar in design with windows, sunlight, and a relaxed setting for our patients.”

In addition, all of the rooms have been designed intentionally to be uniform and adaptable to both right- and left-handed clinicians. Television monitors in each operatory broadcast entertainment or allow the doctors, hygienists, and assistants to display diagnostic results and explain treatment recommendations.

“The building was designed from the patient treatment areas out,” noted Dr. Munro. “It was important to us that each treatment area be similar in design with windows, sunlight, and a relaxed setting for our patients.”

“Uniformity enables the dentist and hygienist to slide from room to room and perform the needed procedures with ease and efficiency while finding necessary supplies and instruments in the same space in each room,” added Dr. Munro.

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The versatile and powerful OP300 Maxio cone beam system can be utilized across specialties. It was selected by the doctors because of its larger field-of-view and the low-dose technology. A 3D image can be set to deliver up to five times less radiation than that of a 2D panoramic image.

Ordering and sorting incoming dental supplies from Henry Schein could have been overwhelming and labor intensive because of the volume coming into such a large practice. Henry Schein solved the problem by creating custom bar-coded catalogs for each pod/suite that displays only the supplies relevant to each specific area. The staff scans the bar codes of the items they need, and deliveries—labeled for the correct areas—typically arrive in 24 hours.

Digital Imaging and Impressions

Racine Dental Group invested in digital imaging, including the OP300 Maxio system, which offers a larger field of view and reduced radiation exposure.

Noting the importance of the new technology, Dr. Munro continued, “The cone beam CT scanner allows our doctors to precisely see all the dental structures of our patient’s dentition in three dimensions, as well as giving our doctors the ability to place implants and teeth in the same day.”

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The digital impression system, by 3Shape, allows staff to see the impression being built during scanning, is more comfortable and decreases chair time for patients.

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Digital images are sent directly to the onsite lab, Lighthouse Dental Studio, which is located in the lower level.

The practice also chose NOMAD Pro 2 portable handheld X-ray units, which integrated well with the phosphorous plate system they kept from the previous office. In the future, Racine Dental Group will be transitioning to DEXIS and Dentrix Enterprise practice management software. Both of these additions will dovetail with the current office technology, streamlining their
office management even more.

Onsite Lab Produces Most Restorations

The practice utilizes the 3Shape TRIOS digital impression system, and the scans are sent directly to the onsite lab.

“Lighthouse Dental Studio has been part of our group and success for over 40 years,” said Dr. Munro. “Ninety-eight percent of the crowns, veneers, dentures, and snoring appliances we provide for our patients are made right here by our own master ceramist and
his skillful and artistic laboratory staff.”

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Left to right, Front row: Dr. Thomas Scherrer; Dr. Allison Emery; Dr. Derf Simes; Second row: Dr. Brian Waldau; Dr. Earl Newton; Dr. Paul Elcano; Third row: Dr. Scott Munro; Dr. Jay Oksiuta; Paty Vega, Regional Manager; Back row: Jeff Winter, Equipment Service Technician; Dan Kroeger, Equipment Sales Specialist; Bob Ross, Certified Integration Technician; Jeff Tracy, Field Sales Consultant

The move from the old to the new building was gradual and took four weeks; that could have necessitated at least a few days of
lost production, but Mr. Kroeger noted the doctors did not miss a single day of production, due to the coordination with the
Henry Schein team.

Racine Dental Group’s new location has been open since October 2014, so although it is too soon to quantify its success with hard numbers, the accolades from the doctors, patients, and staff have made it clear that the new office was the right decision for this group.

“The wow factor is through the roof,” said Dr. Simes, who added that patients have given very positive feedback. “Patients are definitely telling others about the new modern facility and the patient experience they’re having. The staff also enjoys the newly created efficiencies and the room available for social interaction, education and training.”