Arriving at the dental clinic of Dr. Harry Fritz, one can easily understand why ZWP Magazine awarded it Germany’s Most Beautiful Dental Practice prize in 2010. Located in a villa on the verge of Lake Mühlenteich in Lübeck, it radiates uniqueness and charm.
Dr. Fritz is a one-of-a-kind dentist who constantly strives for perfection in his professional environment. He has not only designed his beautiful clinic and procedure management software himself, but he also works solo, constantly improving the efficiency of his work.
BETWEEN ART NOUVEAU AND INNOVATION
The villa was built in 1885 and for many years was the house of Lübeck’s urban gardener. Before Dr. Fritz moved in with his clinic, the house had been abandoned for 12 years.
When I entered the house for the first time, I immediately knew that this was the place for my clinic. It felt like something more than just a house on a lakeside, to me it felt like a space of energy. I had an almost instant vision of my practice so the planning and realization time was very short. It took me only six months to completely renovate the house and turn it into a clinic. Of course, I experienced some issues. As the building is located in a historic area, it had to meet all the needs of a modern dental clinic and its rigorous hygiene standards while still maintaining the original spirit.
At the moment, the clinic consists of three treatment and two prophylaxis rooms, an X-ray room with a tomograph, a consulting room, a training room and a practice laboratory. Three of the treatment rooms are located in the extension of the building, which due to the glass walls offers a view of the lake. Patients therefore enjoy a direct connection with nature – something rarely expected in a dental practice.
THE DENTAL DECATHLON
When he was working at the Charité university in Berlin, Dr. Fritz was given a lot of freedom to develop in directions that he was interested in. He used this opportunity to develop his skills in all dental fields.
My specialization is what I call the dental decathlon. I do all dental disciplines because I really enjoy all of them and I cannot even tell you which one I am best at. But thanks to this I can treat my patients from A to Z, using all the latest technologies, and I am responsible for the whole process.
“AN OVER-THE-PATIENT INSTRUMENT DELIVERY SYSTEM AND BALANCED INSTRUMENTS ARE THE ONLY WAY FOR EFFICIENT AND ERGONOMIC SOLO WORK.”
He prefers to be the only dentist in the practice and manages a team of assistants and hygienists. However, on top of being the only dentist in the clinic, Dr. Fritz also works solo during treatments.
I got used to working alone during my work at the university and after I decided to work in a clinic I realized that working solo is quite common, for example, in Scandinavia. I only needed to find the right dental unit. During my university experience I was able to try out all kinds of different units, but none of them satisfied my requirements until I got to know Flex Integral. An over-the-patient instrument delivery system and balanced instruments are the only way for efficient and ergonomic solo work.
Although Dr. Fritz works solo, his assistants still work very hard. Their main task is to prepare everything for the treatment, and while they are not in the room, they have to be constantly aware of the current treatment steps and know when to enter the room to help.
Solo work is only one of the three most important elements of Dr. Fritz’s concept of dentistry. The other key elements are, firstly, the organization of all tools and materials for each type of treatment on individual trays, and secondly, the extensive practice management system.
AN IDEAL TREAMENT ROOM
When I was conceptualizing how my future clinic should work, I started analyzing all the treatments that I do. I came to the conclusion that the best-organized treatment is surgery, because all tools and materials are contained on only one tray. Then I thought, why not apply this standard to the whole practice, even with simple treatments like hygiene or filling? This approach to treatment organization significantly optimized my work and allowed me to get closer to my “ideal treatment room” – a table with only the things you need for the treatment.
The third element of Dr. Fritz’s work concept is the practice management system that he has customized. Meeting ever more demanding legal requirements, as well as the needs of staff education, registration of procedures and efficient management of documentation, patient visits, materials and tools is becoming a growing challenge for many dental practices. The computer software used by his team provides a sort of guide that they follow, starting with registration of the patient for the first treatment. It continues with detailing the type of treatment, the steps that need to be carried out to perform it, the materials and their colors, the type and duration of the anesthesia, and any exceptional issues arising from. Finally, it ends with the required time between different treatments and registration for the next appointment. The software is the connecting piece of all operations of the dental team.
Sometimes, being exhausted after a long day, the staff may make an error in the procedures and skip some by accident. With my software system I am absolutely sure that there will be no exception from procedures, because it isn’t even possible. My patients are safe and my staff always know what to do – the perfect situation.
Even with individual needs, all dentists follow universal steps. All of them can be standardized – one just needs to define the standard. If someone copied my system, they would only have to adjust small things like, for example, materials. I am sure that that this is the next big step for many dental clinics.