Balancing doctor production, hygiene production, and a culture of teamwork is not easy. In many cases, hygienists are underutilized regarding production. We’ve found that they can increase production by 20% within 60 days and maintain that increase on a permanent basis.
To effectively increase dental hygiene production, a new series of strategies must be put in place. The hygienist must be part of this process, or the practice will likely run into resistance. Simply directing someone to do something without their input often creates animosity. Furthermore, it’s human nature to resist change even when the change is better. If you want the hygienists to be on board with increasing production, be sure to include them in the strategy planning and implementation.
Figure out which patients have incomplete treatment
Hygienists can be brilliant motivators when encouraging patients to complete treatment. They can even discuss the availability of patient financing and interest-free financing. Hygienists have great relationships with their patients and when they talk to them about completing treatment with compassion and caring, many patients will schedule those appointments. At every morning huddle, discuss who has incomplete treatment.
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Determine if hygiene patients are on schedule for x-rays and fluoride
Many dentists believe their patients are on schedule, when actually as many as 20% are overdue for a specific hygiene service. By identifying these patients in the huddle every day, hygienists can catch up with x-rays and fluoride and then maintain that pace going forward. This can add tens of thousands of dollars to practice production.
Recommend adult fluoride and sealants for elderly patients
Taking time to educate elderly patients about how fluoride and sealants can help them avoid caries is beneficial for both patients and practice production. Work with the hygienists to determine which patients would be the best recipients of these services so they can present the recommendation at the appointment.
Encourage hygienists to contact patients
Hygienists are the office’s most influential professionals for reaching out to overdue patients, which they can do in their downtime. We’ve found that a combination of calling and texting is the most powerful way to encourage patients to make appointments. When the hygienist leaves a voicemail, the patient is much more likely to respond because patients view the hygienist as an authority and take a call or text from them seriously.
Encourage hygienists to identify treatment
Although this is not direct hygiene production, dental hygienists have an amazing ability to identify potential treatment. Esthetics, implants, night guards, and other services are often under their production potential and the best person to educate patients about these services is the dental hygienist. The hygienist can talk with patients about specific clinical needs or elective options and then brief the doctor before they see the patient. This will lead to significant increases in doctor production and, therefore, practice production.