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Features / July 9, 2024

Where to start when opening a new practice

by Ed O'Flaherty

Where to start when opening a new practice

Ed O’Flaherty discusses the journey of opening a new state-of-the-art dental practice in Dublin and how embracing challenge and innovation allowed Seapoint Clinic to redefine dental excellence.

Opening our new, state-of-the-art dental clinic in Dublin has been a journey of overcoming challenges and realising a vision. In this article, to help you in your potential project, I will go through the initial motivations, the planning and execution, and the valuable lessons learned since the clinic’s opening.

Motivation: expanding the Seapoint experience

Our primary motivation was clear from the start: to expand and offer more clients the Seapoint experience. 

We envisioned a clinic that would not only cater to a larger clientele but also elevate the standard of dental care in Ireland. This vision was fuelled by our commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving needs of our patients.

Choosing the perfect site 

Adding a new location represented a significant leap for us. It was a decision that came 15 years after our initial clinic opening. We balanced the potential benefits with the substantial risk entailed. 

We knew that this expansion was not just about growing our practice. It was about upholding and enhancing the quality of care that Seapoint is known for.

Our search across Dublin was extensive and strategic. We focused on key factors such as population size, affluence and accessibility. 

After evaluating numerous locations, we found one that ticked all the boxes. It was not only geographically ideal, but also a perfect fit in terms of population makeup and potential for growth. It offered a perfect opportunity to establish a dental clinic that would serve as a cornerstone for advanced dental care in a European capital city.

Preparation: laying the groundwork

The preparation phase was extensive – and enlightening. 

Financially, we combined our resources with bank financing. Despite this, there were still financial constraints at the end of the build. Even though we planned the finances and build costs in detail there were still dramatic changes once the project began. 

We were told that you can only have one thing – the design you want or the budget you want. We chose to go with our design vision.

Navigating construction challenges

The construction phase presented a myriad of challenges. We encountered stringent regulations, particularly around building safety and compliance, such as fire certifications. These requirements added layers of complexity, cost and unexpected delays. 

However, each hurdle was an opportunity to learn and adapt. Our clinic was not just aesthetically pleasing but also structurally sound and compliant with the highest safety standards. 

Fortunately, we worked with trusted builders familiar with dental clinics.

A significant portion of the construction time was dedicated to designing and customising the clinic. We invested in custom furniture and interior design elements throughout, collaborating with top architects to create a space that was both functional and visually appealing.

This meticulous attention to detail was driven by our desire to create an environment that would be both welcoming and conducive to the highest standards of dental care.

Décor, aesthetics and technology

Our approach to the clinic’s décor and aesthetics was inspired by extensive research and benchmarking against high-end establishments. 

We aimed to create an ambiance that paralleled luxury hotels and top-tier medical facilities, ensuring that every aspect of the patient’s experience was exceptional. Our collaboration with architects yielded full 3D renders, allowing us to visualise and fine-tune every detail of the interior design. Being able to walk through the design using life size plans we could physically walk through was really helpful for avoiding mistakes.

In terms of technical advancements, our new clinic is a leap forward. We’ve implemented first-class suction systems in all rooms, addressing a major challenge we faced in our older clinic. Additionally, we’re proud to say that the clinic is fully equipped for 3D manufacturing, placing us at the cutting edge of dental technology.

Assembling a dedicated team 

The success of our new clinic in Dublin hinges on the people behind it. We carefully assembled a team of highly skilled professionals, each bringing their expertise and passion for dental care. 

The training and integration of this new team is crucial, ensuring each member is not only technically proficient but also deeply aligned with the Seapoint philosophy of patient-centred care.

Marketing and community engagement

As we neared completion, our marketing strategy focused on leveraging our existing client base while also reaching out to the wider Dublin community. 

Our strong online presence, coupled with targeted outreach efforts, has played a pivotal role in introducing our new clinic to potential clients.

Final result: a landmark in dental care

The completion of our Dublin clinic marked a significant milestone. We succeeded in creating a facility that not only embodies the latest in dental technology but also exudes a sense of warmth and welcome that is often missing in medical facilities. 

The clinic’s design, from the colour schemes to the layout, was crafted to ensure longevity and timelessness. 

We decided to fit out all seven surgeries on day one rather than stagger them, as we are confident our growth targets will be achieved over the coming years.

Personal and professional impact

The completion of this project marked a significant shift in both my personal and professional life. It represents the culmination of years of planning, dedication, and hard work. 

Professionally, it has positioned us at the forefront of dental care in Europe. Personally, it has been a journey of immense growth and learning. The project, from its inception to completion, has taught us the value of resilience, meticulous planning, and the power of a shared vision. 

One of the biggest lessons learned since the opening is the importance of thorough planning and budgeting. Projects of this scale often take longer and cost more than anticipated. This experience has shown the need to plan for contingencies and to approach such ambitious projects with a mix of optimism and realism.

To anyone contemplating a similar venture, my advice is straightforward: consider the practical aspects, such as building infrastructure, that can significantly ease future expansions or modifications. For instance, a building with raised flooring can simplify the installation of dental chair pipework versus cutting concrete slabs and getting engineering structural reports. 

Also, make sure you have arranged more finance than you think you will need!

Looking ahead

As we move forward, the new clinic is not just a testament to our growth but a symbol of our commitment to providing unparalleled dental care. The journey from conception to realisation of this clinic has set a new benchmark in our practice and in the wider dental community.

Opening our new state-of-the-art clinic in Dublin marks the beginning of a new era for Seapoint Clinic. It stands as a beacon of our dedication to excellence, innovation, and patient-centred care. We look forward to continuing our journey of providing exceptional dental services. As well as contributing to the health and wellbeing of our community.

Our location in Sandyford is a key location for technology in Europe. With our new clinic, we hope it will become a key location for quality dentistry too. 

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