A dental hygiene coordinator is a full- or part-time position that focuses strictly on filling the hygiene schedule. We want our hygienists’ schedules full and our patients able to schedule appointments in a reasonable time frame. Keep in mind that patients who wait too long for appointments often leave to find other practices that can schedule them sooner.
For a large practice, a full-time dental hygiene coordinator makes sense. For a small practice, this responsibility can be delegated to a part-time front desk person. As the compensation for dental hygienists grows, it’s more important than ever for practices to create correct planning and scheduling to maximize their return on that investment.
The dental hygiene coordinator can employ multiple strategies to increase practice production significantly and keep hygienists busy.
You might also be interested in: There's a hole in your hygiene: How reappointment rates dramatically affect dental practice growth
Schedule patients for their next hygiene appointment
Ideally, the coordinator would schedule patients while they’re in the hygiene room. This is the most efficient and effective approach. However, not all patients are willing to schedule their next appointment immediately. The hygiene coordinator should compile and track a master list of patients who will need to be contacted later for their hygiene scheduling.
Confirm all patient appointments
Practices need to know whether patients are coming to their appointments so there are not high levels of no-shows.
Reach out to overdue patients to schedule hygiene
No-shows create a loss when it comes to overhead. Scheduling overdue patients creates a significant gain. Do you want your no-show rate to be under 1%? I’m assuming you do. This can be accomplished with a dental hygiene coordinator.
Monitor the average production per patient in hygiene
Is the patient overdue for any procedures? Do they need x-rays, fluoride, or sealants? Are there other opportunities, such as whitening or periodontal services? Remember to track how much dentistry is referred back to dentists above the standard average.
The dental hygiene coordinator position not only pays for itself; it also has a significant return on investment for the practice. This is a concept that every practice should consider.
This article originally appeared in DE Weekend, the newsletter that will elevate your Sunday mornings with practical and innovative practice management and clinical content from experts across the field. Subscribe here.