Does your hygiene schedule look like Swiss Cheese?
Here are 3 easy steps you can use to evaluate this.
What do I mean by Swiss cheese? A holey schedule – lots of cancellations, no-shows, broken appointments. While even a healthy hygiene department will have periodic openings, this becomes a problem when it is a consistent pattern.
When I was observing the office of one of our clients recently, there was one specific hygienist that had no-show after no-show all morning. There are 6 hygienists in this office, however only one had several missing appointments. Everyone else was fully booked and almost all the patient showed. When I spoke with the doctor, he said that this happens quite often to this one particular hygienist.
The first knee-jerk reaction would be to get rid of the current appointment scheduling/confirmation system and start over. But when you stop and observe the office as a whole, the system wasn’t failing. Five other operatives were successful. The issue needed to be looked at on an individual level.
Her room was stocked, instruments were sharpened, and there weren’t any hygiene patients to be seen. During the time this assistant is with her patients, her duties are to help them understand why they need to keep their appointments for this dental health in a friendly, warm way. She wasn’t creating urgency for her patients to come back. She wasn’t making it a priority in their lives.
This is a major issue for this particular hygienist. She likes to talk but not about dentistry.
If you don’t want your hygienist to get paid to be on her cell phone, it is important to make sure she is scheduled and working during productive time. If they aren’t seeing patients, they shouldn’t be completing personal tasks to pass the time. They should be focusing on things that generate income (now or in the near future), like making phone calls to patients to schedule appointments. Hygienists are the most effective person in the office at getting patients to schedule and keep their appointments in the hygiene department. Take advantage of that opportunity.
Take a look at your hygienist schedule. Do you have a Swiss cheese schedule? The three steps to improving things are 1) Look at the system, 2) Create an urgency to come back at their prescribed hygiene interval, 3) And during those infrequent down time, get your hygienists involved in contacting patients for patient relationship building and filling her/his own schedule.
In this week’s video you’ll learn:
- 3 steps to evaluate your hygiene schedule
- How to be more productive in your office
- How your hygienists can improve their own schedule