How do you make your hygiene team more productive and profitable? Focus on the best care for your dental patients.
For example, underperforming hygiene teams often miss opportunities to provide full or partial quadrant treatment for gum disease. Adult fluoride is overlooked as a preventive tool. Recommendations for sealants are forgotten in the course of patient visit. And too many times past due patients, who need a two-visit cleaning, are seen for just one visit.
How do you correct this? First, you have to determine what is driving the behavior. In some cases, there are disconnects between the dentist and hygiene team regarding expectations and protocols. For example, the hygiene team may be unclear about how the dentist wants to treat patients with isolated gum disease. Or, the hygiene team does not understand which patients are the best candidates for adult fluoride or two-step cleanings.
Next, you need to understand how cost is affecting the hygiene team’s recommendations. Sometimes hygienists do not guide patients toward treatment that costs more than a regular cleaning for fear it will negatively impact the patient’s pocketbook. While it’s commendable that hygienists are concerned about their patients, the unfortunate outcome is that optimal patient care is overlooked. Encourage the hygiene team to present the best treatment, stand behind the recommendation, and let the patient work with the front team on cost. When patients understand the value of what is being recommended, they are far more likely to schedule.
Finally, it’s critical for the hygiene team to get support from the dentist. When hygienists make recommendations about hygiene treatment or recall interval, it is important for the dentist to reinforce this with the patient. When patients hear the same message from the hygienist and dentist, they are far more likely to schedule.
By focusing on what is best for the patient, you can not only provide a great service, but you will also make your hygiene department more productive and profitable in the process.