In part 1 and part 2 we discussed critical components to a successful assisted hygiene business model. In part 1 we discussed a systematic approach, developing a specific protocol for how this will work. In part 2 we discussed communication with your patients and also team meetings to make this a seamless process and get every team member on the same page. In part 1 scheduling was briefly mentioned and in part 3 we will discuss this in more detail.
Organizing the Assisted Hygiene Schedule
When organizing your assisted hygiene schedule you will first begin with what procedures will be accomplished in the hygiene appointment for preventive care. Write the list and then put a number next to each one in order of importance. If you believe review of the medical history and blood pressure screening are most important these will have a 1 by them. If Caries Risk Assessment is not as important as the Periodontal Screening Exam you will put a lower number on the Periodontal Screening Exam so this goes higher on the list. Later you can put these in numerical order. Every team especially members of the hygiene team need to be a part of this exercise. During this meeting write down other services you may be missing. Services you may not currently offer are a smile analysis, Invisalign, selling products for halitosis or xerostomia, etc. These are just a few suggestions but can add value to your hygiene department in many ways.
The next part of organizing the schedule once the procedure and their importance and amount of time needed is to write down in another column /the person who will be able to provide this procedure. The hygiene assistant can seat, greet, review the health history and even take a blood pressure. Is the assistant able to coronal polish? If this is within their scope of practice write them down in the column next to the procedure when you have decided your order of importance.
Something else to identify is what you consider to be high production, moderate production and low production. You will be organizing your procedures and the pieces to the schedule by these classifications.
Writing the Assisted Hygiene Protocol
It is very important to have this all written down and kept in a place where you keep your practice protocols. Discuss how you will communicate with patients and exactly what you will say. Is a patient says they can’t afford to come in every 3 months what will your response be? This is one of the questions you will all systematically want to be able to answer. Of course not every patient is the same but what information do all of you in the entire practice need to know to give an educated response?
Putting the Pieces of the Schedule to work
Now that you have your list of important procedures and the name of the providers who can provide this treatment make another column and write down how many minutes you will need to accomplish each procedure. The patient coming in for a scaling and root planning procedure will most likely need 1 hour of uninterrupted time. This will most likely be 60 minutes. A patient coming in who is getting a fluoride varnish and oral hygiene instruction review because their caries risk assessment showed they are moderate to excessively high risk for caries needs no more than 20 minutes and they can be seen by the hygiene assistant in a second room while the hygienist is scaling and root planing. If the assistant is able to do coronal polishing they can see a pediatric patient in the room next to the hygienist while the RDH is administering anesthesia and then scaling and root planning.
Putting the pieces of the puzzle together is where it gets difficult. On the opening day of this new program and even while putting the pieces of the puzzle together you may want to enlist an expert in assisted hygiene.
When you are able to put these important steps together you will work in harmony to create a masterpiece. Utilizing the assisted hygiene business model can create a fun place to work and very happy patients who feel they are well cared for!
Happy Patient = Successful Dental Business