Are you getting the most out of your hygiene department? Many new dentists aren’t sure how to measure the effectiveness of their hygiene departments. Establishing performance measurements and identifying a few fundamental expectations can make a big difference.
• If the hygienist receives a guaranteed salary regardless of production the expectation must be that s/he produces three times her/his salary.
• In addition to a base salary, consider paying hygienists a commission for achieving additional production.
• Schedule the hygienist to produce at 3x her/his daily wage.
• Evaluate fees and determine if they are too low. Look at the procedures conducted in an hour to determine the production per hour costs. If the hygienist is paid $40 per hour and the cost for the prophy, not including the dentist’s exam, is $80, the hygienist is making 50 cents on the dollar.
• The hygiene salary should be less than 33% of her/his production, not including the doctor’s exam fee.
• Insist on periodontal assessment. One-third of hygiene production should be in interceptive periodontal therapy. Require the hygienist measure the total number of dollars produced in the 4,000 code and divide it by his/her total production. Report that once per month at the monthly meeting.
• Customize the time per patient based on patient need not on a standard one-hour allocation for each patient.
• Provide hygiene hours in the evening if patients are requesting late appointments.
• Evaluate the effectiveness of pre-scheduling. Practices using six month scheduling achieve only 76% patient retention and have a nearly 50% higher loss of patients than similar-sized practices that do not pre-appoint.
Establish expectations and performance measurements for hygiene and watch this department become a full contributor to your practice profits.
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