Have you ever played the ‘hurry up and wait game?’ Typically, when I ask this question to hygienists they furiously nod their heads and proceed to share that one of the biggest challenges for them and their Dr’s is in hygiene checks. Often times the hygienist and the patient are waiting on the Dr who is knee deep in a patient procedure they cannot step away from. Then the doctor feels stressed and rushed as the schedule starts to get behind. When this starts first thing in the morning it can be very challenging to get back on track.
Traditionally hygiene tends to do Dr exams at the end of the appointment which can create traffic jams throughout the day. Dr’s, what if I shared with you a more efficient method that empowers your hygiene team, increases patient communication and acceptance of treatment, and eliminates scheduling road blocks? If you are ready to remove those hygiene traffic jams from your schedule there are three key areas to address. These will delight your hygienists and patients as well as alleviate stress!
Follow these 3 key points:
- Time management. Can you and your hygienists explain step by step what is done during the patient’s recall visit? Consistency is key ensuring a wow factor experience along with time management skills. By incorporating the hygiene time grid (see pie graph below) you and your team can anticipate when you will be needed for exams and start working around that accordingly. Notice that all needed info and diagnostics are taken within the first 15-20 minutes of the appointment so that the Dr may come in to do an exam at any time afterwards versus waiting until the very end when the clock is ticking.
- Communication with the patient and each other. At AMP we teach hygienists how to pre-heat patients prior to Dr exams thus eliminating how much time the Dr needs in the room answering questions or explaining treatment. The most powerful tool you can hand your hygiene team is in using intra-oral cameras on every patient every time. Like the old saying goes, a picture truly is worth 1,000 words!
- Handoffs. Do you and your hygienist do this at the start and end of your examinations? A brief summary of findings, concerns, and celebrations of what the patient is doing well create value and reinforce patient loyalty.
Follow the above three points and watch how your hygiene department transforms. This is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face- even yours! We love to hear your celebrations and help you through any challenges. Emails us at: firstname.lastname@example.org so we can guide you through this process and keep you on the road of success!