July 13, 2017

How to Increase Your Hygiene Production in 5 Steps

Usually, when you ask a question, you want a clear answer. But when it comes to the web discerning what it is you’re asking and whether there’s even an answer out there for it, a clear answer isn’t always available. Even in this modern day Google world. However, when it comes to how to increase your hygiene production, you’re in luck. A clear answer now exists and includes only 5 simple steps.

How to Increase Your Hygiene Production

One of the greatest ways to improve overall practice production is by increasing your hygiene production. If you really want to increase your production, then here are 5 steps to get you there!

5 Steps to Increase Your Hygiene Production

Step 1: Pre-Scheduling & Retaining Appointments

Despite common procedure, the hygiene department has the best auxiliary to schedule the next appointment. Mainly, because they’re the ones that intimately understand the patient’s needs and desires for the next appointment. Plus, they already know the necessary procedure to schedule. For those reasons, before the patient leaves the hygiene room, your hygienist or hygiene assistant should schedule the patient’s next appointment.

And since your patient’s schedule is roughly the same for the same day of the week. No surprise then, the same appointment time will work 80% of the time for that particular patient.

Trust me, pre-scheduling is your ticket to success! It will skyrocket your restorative schedule.

To begin, a realistic goal is to have 95-98% of your hygiene patients scheduled for their next appointment before they leave. This is a dental KPI called Hygiene Reappointment (%).

But bear in mind, pre-scheduling is only half the battle!

As you well know, the hygiene appointment is the most cancelled appointment on the schedule. So, get to know the barriers and patient objections that may occur ahead of time so you can plan accordingly in your team meetings.

In fact, many offices experience a cancellation rate around 25%. But effective communication between your team and the patient can help you greatly improve patient compliance. Consequently, your dental practice will see a reduction in cancellation and appointment failures, and your hygiene production will increase.

One way to decrease cancellations is to express the value of the appointment. For instance, your recare card sent out a few days prior to the patient’s next appointment should say something like:

“This is the appointment time that you reserved for yourself for your dental exam, periodontal exam, and oral cancer screening.”

But one of the best strategies for improving appointment retention is a written cancellation policy.

Do you have a written cancellation policy?

It's one of the most important deterrents you can put in place. If you don't already, you should have written guidelines for patients that explain what will occur when they cancel an appointment at the last minute or fail to show up. I’d recommend posting your cancellation policy in a visible place in the office. Not to mention, including it in your new patient packet. It’s important that your new patients sign that they read and understood your cancellation policy.

Another important note, make sure you write your expectations using positive words. For example, below is a cancellation policy written in a positive manner. Feel free to use this policy for your own office. I recommend that all new patients sign this. And every 3 years, all patients update it with a new signature.

Download Dental Cancellation Policy

In addition, when a patient comes in the door late, do not let it go unnoticed. But be nice! Stand-up (as you should do for all patients) and show concern. Say something like, “Thank goodness you’re okay, we were getting worried about you.” The patient won’t be upset that you cared, and will also know that you noticed the tardiness. Usually, that patient will try harder to be on time for the next appointment.

Step 2: In-Office Dispensing of Specific Dental-Related Products

In-office dispensing is an effective strategy for a number of practices. But many are still not comfortable offering specific dental-related products for sale. Though, wouldn’t you want to capture these extra profits? Especially, since most patients report that they would rather purchase a recommended product directly from the office as it’s more convenient.

So, if you're one of those offices, it’s time to break out of your comfort zone. In-office dispensing is an opportunity to make specific recommendations to patients and have the product available for immediate purchase. It’s not only convenient for patients, but it also immediately and significantly increases the hygiene department’s production. Consequently, contributing to higher overall practice production.

In fact, products and services that may increase your hygiene profits include:

  • Fluoride treatments (utilizing the evidence-based science from CAMBRA; see #3 below)
  • Sealants
  • Antimicrobials
  • Dental water jets
  • Power toothbrushes
  • Calcium Phosphate and/or fluoride topicals
  • 5% sodium fluoride for at-home use
  • Oral rinses
  • Xylitol products
  • And whitening kits

Of course, it’s up to the hygienist to discern which products are appropriate for each patient. However, the most important aspect of patient acceptance and cooperation is to make these home-care products seem like a standard and have them available for immediate purchase.

Step 3: Embracing the CAMBRA Standard of Care

By using a technique commonly referred to as “co-diagnostics,” the patient will essentially diagnose their own CAMBRA risk. Typically, this is done by having the patient fill out a straightforward 5 color form, which assists them on ranking their risks. Not only will they understand why they have this caries risk, but will be looking for your answer. CAMBRA treatment acceptance commonly will increase to well above 85%.

Step 4: Leveraging Your Hygienist’s Time

The doctor is leveraged by assistants, the front office team, and even hygienists. Next to the doctor, the hygienist’s time is commonly the second most valuable time in the practice. By assisting the hygienists, their production will go up.

Depending on your state laws, an assistant can significantly leverage the hygienist’s time. For instance, by seating and dismissing the patient, sterilizing and setting up rooms, taking radiographs, giving home care, charting, and often polishing teeth.

As a matter of fact, a well-run practice is where the hygienists and dentist are doing all their state dental board allows only them to do. Plus, what is required to establish and maintain a healthy relationship with their patients and team members. While everything else is delegated to the practice’s valuable assistants.

Step 5: Measuring Your Hygiene Team’s Progress

Seeing the fruits of their labor is extremely important to continued success. Knowing exactly how much their numbers have improved each month can guide your hygienists to know where more potential remains. Not to mention, when your hygiene department can see their individual progress and improvements, it boosts morale and motivation.

When it comes to tracking progress, it’s often recommended that each month, the hygiene team, office administrator, and doctor run and review a production analysis report.

But that’s way too old-school!

The information is neither actionable nor in real-time. . . which means your team is reacting rather than acting. And in today’s dental industry, you need a team that is proactively driving the department’s production. What your team needs is a dental dashboard!

With a dental dashboard, your team can proactively analyze all dental hygiene procedures each month to determine what percentage of production the appropriate hygiene department codes represent. In real-time, you’ll see the effects of any assessments or procedures you implement to boost production. Plus, all the other benefits of using a dental dashboard.

Want Help Measuring & Monitoring Your Hygiene Production?

See for yourself how BlueIQ makes measuring and monitoring performance simple, automated, timely, and fun:

BlueIQ the Perfect Dental Dashboard

Now You Know How to Increase Your Hygiene Production!

But what you do next is up to you. However, we hope you choose to write up a game plan around these 5 steps. Then, share it with your team and execute it at a high and efficient level. Of course, with a dental dashboard to help you measure your progress and take action in real-time!

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