10 Tips to Ensure Your Hygiene Programs Success

Your team is starting to settle in you may have already begun to integrate hygiene into your days or perhaps it is happening in the next few weeks. The secret to your success will be revitalizing your hygiene to be even stronger than it was before. Your patients may be hesitant to return for “just a cleaning” and that is reasonable with some of the press that has been out there. It is our job to get them back on track, which in turn will revitalize our hygiene programs.

I want to provide you with what are the ten most important items to review with your team frequently to ensure your hygiene programs success.

  1. Communication must be consistent from the hygienists, the dentists and the administrators. As a team, come together and create a message that will repeated by the entire team during each and every contact with patients.
  2. Your patient education surrounding the importance of whatever hygiene interval was diagnosed in the past should be communicated to patients. Many patients who see the hygienist on a 3 or 4 month cycle may have missed one full cycle already. When calling the patients, have the verbiage ready for the patients to reflect the importance of them coming in.
  3. Refer to my newsletter a few weeks ago about the “do’s and don’t’s” of patient verbiage. Share this with your team.
  4. Ensuring that all patients who were cancelled during your office closing were actually cancelled, not deleted and were put on an accessible list. Have your team show you the list, let you know how they are handling the patients and in what order.
  5. Decide in your office that if a patient is more than ____ months (my suggestion for filling in the blank is 2 months) delayed in their treatment then an extra unit should be added to their appointment and be billed for it.
  6. If a patient’s care is particularly delayed (12 months possibly) then they should be told at the initial call that the hygienist may need to bring them back for a second appointment if needed.
  7. If hygienists have open time in their schedule, they should be helping to call patients, nothing would be better for the patient then the hygienist they trust inviting them back into the safe atmosphere you have created.
  8. Ensure that you hygienists are billing appropriately for their time with patients, they should be averaging $180 to $210 per hour without exams or radiographs. If they are below this level it will be affecting your bottom line because of the cost of PPE for each appointment.
  9. Dentist prompting at each appointment has to be better communication than ever before. Most offices are looking to bring patients in for fewer aerosol procedures than before. To help with your PPE costs you will want to look at patient’s comprehensive care. Depending on your style of diagnosis this may mean less “observes and watches” or it may mean having frank discussions with your patients about wear on their restorations and teeth.
  10. Patient communication through PPE is more difficult than ever before. Ensure that your hygienists are taking the time and making the effort to continue communicating and educating patients through their appointments. PPE can’t be the reason that the patients don’t receive the education they deserve.

My best advice is to move into all of this with your team through regular daily communication. I know many of you are not as involved in your hygiene program as some of these tips would need you to be. If you require any assistance, connect with me and I will be happy to help out either remotely or in person.

Cindy Mark



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