If you ask Dr. Ketan Sukkawala what he likes best about the new pediatric dental practice he built in October 2013, he will list improved patient flow, digital imaging and the modern, creative theme and bold architecture that stands out in the small town of College Station, Texas. If you ask the children who come to him for care, however, they will describe the cool tower room, the solar system mobile that floats above their heads, and of course, the astronaut in the game room. The fact that patients and the doctor are so satisfied with completely different aspects of the practice demonstrates how well it has succeeded in elevating both patient care and practice operations simultaneously.
It has been two years since Dr. Sukkawala decided to build the 5,400-square-foot office with its 11 operatories. His decision to take on the building of a new practice was spurred by several factors.
“We see kids of varying ages (infants to teenagers) and kids with special needs who are medically and physically handicapped in some way”, explained Dr. Sukkawala. “So, it was important for us to have an office design that catered to all of our patients’ needs. We made special accommodations including a room for general anesthesia and quieter treatment areas in this larger office.”
In 2011, Dr. Larry Kalke joined Dr. Sukkawala as an associate, and with two doctors now sharing space intended for one, the decision to find a new office became more urgent. Dr. Sukkawala knew he wanted to own his next office instead of leasing, and when he located a perfect site nearby, it cemented his decision.
The new office is significantly bigger, but the design is what has helped us with workflow and productivity.
New Office Is Third Build with Henry Schein
Dr. Sukkawala began discussions with Henry Schein Equipment Service Specialist Casey Schluin, who had helped him build and equip two previous offices, and the doctor had several goals in mind. First, he knew he wanted to offer orthodontic services to his patients in the near future. He also hoped to create a very comfortable environment for the younger patients so they would feel at ease. Finally, since he regularly invested in new equipment and technology as it was introduced, Dr. Sukkawala wanted the new space to accommodate future growth. He chose the same contractor and architect he had used for his previous offices, and because Henry Schein had teamed with them before, it was a smooth partnership.
“Their working relationship was very good,” said Dr. Sukkawala. “And it was good for me. I didn’t have to be the middle man. The contractor was very conscious of the Henry Schein specifications, and Casey was responsive to their needs and was on the job site frequently.”
Monthly meetings kept all of the parties to the project on track and helped to identify anything that came up. Construction took 11 months, with the most unique challenge being the construction of the “tower,” which is now the practice’s hygiene area.
Workflow Improves with New Design
The tower is not only a dramatic design element, it is also a practical way to streamline patient flow. “The new office is significantly bigger, but the design is what has helped us with workflow and productivity. More than half of our patients come to our office each day for a hygiene appointment, so having that area in the tower, which is near the game area and reception, creates an efficient flow in and out of the office.”
The remainder of the treatment areas, which consist of operatories, a surgical suite, and a recovery room, are in the main part of the building, alongside the galley-style sterilization room. It utilizes Midmark equipment, a KaVo QUATTROcare, and a dry-heat sterilizer.
Since the new practice was constructed, it has grown to a four-dentist office with the addition of two associates: Dr. John Case—who is one of the few dentists dually trained in pedodontics and orthodontics—and Dr. Brian Barras. “The practice has grown by 50%, and families can now receive pediatric dental care and orthodontic treatment all in one office.”
Integration of Dentrix Imaging Makes Big Impact
Technology has always been an important and ongoing investment for Dr. Sukkawala. He purchased an Instrumentarium OP-30 digital pan when he built the office in 2013, adding to the Dexis sensors and the portable Nomad X-ray system. Last year, he upgraded to the OP-200 pano/ceph system, a necessary investment with the addition of orthodontic services. That investment in digital imaging, combined with its integration into the practice’s existing Dentrix practice-management software, have made the biggest impact on the office.
“Digital radiography has allowed us to reduce radiation exposure and gain valuable diagnostic information on our little patients,” explains Dr. Sukkawala. “And, Dentrix software has allowed us to maximize efficiency and maintain an ‘almost’ paperless office.”
The doctor is pleased to report after working in the office for the last two years, it has truly exceeded both his and his patients’ expectations.
“I don’t think you can be exactly sure about what to expect when you are building or starting something brand new,” he says, “but the design and the style have proven to be very beneficial. We have received lots of glowing reviews on the new office.”
As a Sidekick alumnus, Dr. Sukkawala recommends this to any doctor considering building a new practice: “Start by assembling a great team, make a list of goals for the new building and create a budget.”