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    4 ways to make your office more green — and more profitable

    Being environmentally friendly doesn’t necessarily mean losing money, sometimes it actually helps you be more profitable.


    Digital tree

    1. Let’s get digital

    We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of transitioning to a paperless office, and have told you how real-world dentists have gotten there. And while it’s tough, most practitioners feel that in the end the results speak for themselves.

    If you haven’t gone paperless, think about the amount of paper that flows through your office every day. The small sticky notes, the ever-growing patient files, the printed X-rays, the memos, the patient sign-in sheets, the advertising brochures you hand out at your front desk. All of these costs are small per unit, but they start to add up over time. That’s not to mention the huge footprint that much paper leaves, and the amount of ink and chemicals involved in printing X-rays is expensive and environmentally damaging.

    What about recycling you ask? Isn’t that good enough? Certainly, recycling is a good thing, and no matter how digital you get, you’ll still be using some amount of paper. But that doesn’t change the fact that only about 10 percent of paper is recycled, and even of that 10 percent a fair amount of it is made up of virgin paper.

    Related article: How I managed to create a paperless office

    All that paper really starts to add up in the environment. One ton (2000 pounds) of paper requires 24 trees to make, or in other terms, one tree creates 8,333 sheets of standard copier paper. That sounds like a lot, but think about your file room. How many thousands of sheets of paper have gathered in there over the years?

    X-rays are a whole different story. When you go digital, you eliminate the need for all of the various chemicals — like heavy concentrations of silver or hydroquinone, both of which are toxic — and the detrimental impacts they can have on the environment. Plus, you avoid the hassle of having to dispose of old X-rays and their related materials.

    What about the expense of going digital? Of course costs and timing will vary, but according to some estimates, it only takes 10.8 months to recoup the cost of switching to digital X-rays, billing and charting because of the cost savings. After that? Each year you could see savings of $8769. Your staff will spend less time organizing a mountain of paperwork, and you’ll be free to see more patients instead of chasing down that one file.

    While just shy of $9000 isn’t necessarily going to save your practice, it’s nothing to sneeze at. And if makes your practice more environmentally friendly, then why not go for it?

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