Lake Park Dental–Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Dr. Meggie Graham described her original Lake Park Dental office as “quaint.” The compact 750-square-feet space was located on a vibrant corner on the east side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, above a busy national drugstore. It was a very visible location with a lot of foot traffic, but space was tight. After maximizing the efficiency of that office through the use of various technologies, it became clear she needed additional operatories to continue growing the practice and caring for more patients. In December 2015, she completed building her new office, which is nearly four times the size of her first office!
The journey to her new location started with conversations between Dr. Graham and her Henry Schein representatives, Field Sales Consultant Eddie Dahm and Equipment & Technology Specialist Aaron Rowley. They originally focused on ways to renovate her current office to gain more space for another operatory and her 3D Cone Beam unit.
“The building was owned by a large national chain that didn’t have a department to specifically deal with tenant needs, which made it challenging to coordinate the renovation,” explained Mr. Rowley. “Even though Dr. Graham was only gaining one operatory and a minimal amount of space, it was going to be very expensive. It became clear rather quickly that building a new office would be a better option for her.”
The team found the perfect space for a new office just one block away— a parking garage that had been converted to office space about ten years earlier. It already had one of the world’s most popular coffee chains as an occupant, as well as a bookstore. The space would allow the doctor to build five operatories and create an efficient workflow that delivered excellence.
Innovative Problem Solving Kept Construction On Track
As perfect as the new building was, it required some Henry Schein ingenuity to coordinate the construction logistics. First, a separate landlord owned each floor of the building, and because the build impacted each of them in some way, they all had to be consulted throughout the process. In addition, because of the building’s infrastructure, instead of notching the floor, they had to bore holes into it to run the electrical and other mechanicals. However, this meant disrupting the exposed ceilings that were inside the coffee shop below, so the work could only be done when customers were not on the premises.
“The coffee shop was open until midnight, so our construction team began the floor boring then and would work until 4 am,” explained Mr. Rowley. “Then, we sent a cleaning crew into the coffee shop to quickly clear away any debris that fell from the ceiling before it re-opened at 5 am!”
Soothing Décor, Smart Workflow
The extra creativity they employed to complete the construction was all worth it when patients stepped into the new office. Lake Park Dental is now 2,600 square-feet, and has a beautiful interior that brings in rustic elements alongside the sleek professional materials, technology, and design.
“I was adamant that my office would not look like a dental office,” said Dr. Graham. “I brought in many of the decorative features myself and had them installed. We utilized reclaimed wood and left the brick walls and ceilings exposed. It’s somewhat of a minimalist feel. I’m proud of the decor and design, and of the details chosen, from the hardware and light fixtures to the reclaimed wood.”
The office was designed to ultimately have five operatories. Dr. Graham chose to complete three of the five for opening, but within a few weeks of seeing patients, she realized she needed another treatment room and reached out to Henry Schein once again. Within six weeks, she and her staff were working out of four patient rooms.
“Having two hygienists working at once, and two additional operatories that I can work out of myself, has made us exponentially more efficient and productive,” confirmed Dr. Graham.
The reception area is soothing, with a large curved check-in desk lit by industrial-style pendant lights. It’s the first place patients also catch a glimpse of the crisp apple green accent color that’s part of the practice’s logo, marketing materials, and even the staff’s sneakers!
As patients enter the treatment areas—which run along the perimeter in an L-shape—they are greeted by barn doors denoting each operatory. Inside, Pelton & Crane Spirit 3303 chairs, 3800 rear-delivery units, and Renaissance cabinets continue the luxurious patient experience. The exposed brick and wood beams provide a warm contrast to the high-tech equipment inside the operatories and throughout the office, which is paperless.
Digital Technology Used to Full Potential in New Workflow
Dr. Graham had already invested in a full array of digital imaging, including a portable NOMAD X-ray unit, DEXIS and Gendex sensors, and the Instrumentarium OP300 that she brought over from her previous location. However, with the added space, that technology could be more effectively utilized and placed. For example, the 3D Cone Beam unit could finally be moved to a central alcove steps from the treatment rooms, instead of tucked back in the doctor’s personal office as it was before!
All of the practice’s technology is interconnected through Dentrix practice management software, and Henry Schein TechCentral designed and installed the computer network, a backup system powered by Roxio Retrospect, and workstations throughout the office.
Continuing the high-tech investment into other areas of the practice, Dr. Graham has made a point to showcase the galley-style sterilization center by leaving it open for viewing with large windows. In addition to the top-of-the-line equipment inside, she took the extra step to invest in both a VistaPure and VistaClear water purification system, so whether it’s water being used in the autoclave or in the operatories, patients know it’s nearly 100% pure.
Ease of Use, Increased Referrals
Dr. Graham admits that making such a big move can be stressful, but now that the office has been open for six months, she, her staff, and her patients are experiencing the benefits of more space and better use of that space.
“The things I like best about our new office are the ease of access, how well planned it is regarding the workflow, and the welcoming, non-intimidating environment. The minimalist design has a calming effect, I think.”
Being in a building with other tenants has also increased the number of referrals they received organically, an unexpected benefit. In the short term, Dr. Graham and her team are focused on delivering exceptional patient care through personalized attention and continuing education. Longer-term plans may include adding a second dentist to the practice and eventually outfitting the fifth operatory as patient volume increases.