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Hygiene Time Management: Phase IV The Last Leg of the Race

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

May 27, 2015

Hygiene HandoffDuring a relay race the last leg of the race is the most valuable leg.

Imagine, the baton is your dental hygiene patient and if the dental hygienist drops the baton you know what happens – – YES?

If you don’t know what happens watch my VLOG today (Video below) and I will tell you what happens when the baton is dropped.

This last leg of a relay race uses the strongest runner to run this leg of the relay race. That means the dental hygienist has a strong and powerful position, in the dental practice. They can’t drop the baton.

Time Management can make or break your hygiene appointment, in fact, it can make or break everyone’s day at the office; including your patient!

We are talking about last phase of your dental hygiene appointment: dismissal, hand-off and disinfection.  During this last phaes of the appointment, the hygienist can create additional value and talk or reinforce, the benefits for why the patient needs to return sooner than later, for routine preventive care and/or restorative needs, as necessary.

Some of the important points to remember during your dismissal of the dental hygiene patient are:

1. No more wating until the end of the hygiene appointment for the doctor exam to be completed (See last weeks Video and Blog for more on this)

2. Plan for the last 5-10 minutes to dismiss the patient, hand-off (Verbal communication) to the front office team member. and disinfect/turn the room over for the next patient

3. Patients first language is not “Dental Terminology” so they most likley will need to hear things about three times before it sinks in

i. the three times can be: During the hygiene treatment discussion with patient, the doctor-hygiene exam and the dismissal at the front desk with patient and front office team member

4. Remember these three words need to be discussed before the patient leaves:

i    The WHAT. WHAT does your  patient need to return for? Is it a routine preventive care visit with the hygienist? Restorative treatment? Let the patient know a 2nd and 3rd time (3rd time upon dismissal at front desk)

ii. The WHY. Explain WHY your patient needs to return for “X,Y and Z”, etc.

iii. The WHEN. WHEN does your patient need to return? Does your patient need to return in 3 months or next week?

5. The hygienist is the best auxilary to make the hygiene patients next hygiene appointment.

Why you may ask?

This is the best team member to do this and if planned correctly it can be completed in only 90 seconds of time.

Here’s WHY: The hygienist just spent over thirty minutes with their patient and they understand the WHAT, WHY and WHEN, so I suggest the hygienist schedule the patients next hygiene appointment.

The answer is clear: The hygienist explains the what, why and when while he or she is with the patient in front of the appointment book and usually this is a computerized schedule. It is the click of a mouse and the patient usually will come on the same time and day of the week for their future appointment.

I explain more reasons WHY in the video but this is enough here. I know it can be a sore subject for many hygienists.

Don’t ask the patient when they want to return. Tell the patient what day and time you have available on your schedule. You are in control of your schedule so own it and lead the conversation with the best time for you.

Yes, many patients request a specific time and date but you take the lead and hopefully that patient already is there on their preferred time and day so just keep it the same as much as you can when scheduling the patients next appointment.

Scheduling the patients next appointment means less chance of open holes in the schedule. I have experienced the positive change in offices schedules from utilizing this suggestion. It makes a huge difference in the future of your schedule when the hygienists feel adamant about scheduling their patients next appointment.

View the video this week for more information. I have a lot more to tell you about this so take some time to watch. It’s about 14 minutes long.

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Lead Pages picABOUT DEBBIE SEIDEL-BITTKE, RDH, BS

Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder of Dental Practice Solutions since 2000. She serves dental offices throughout the world by adding valuable services and systems to the dental hygiene department. She is very unique in the way she is able to look at the total profitability of your dental practice NOT only the dental hygiene department.

Debbie is a former Dental Hygiene Program Director and is a former Clinical Assistant Professor from the University of Southern California. Please contact her for a 30 minute No charge Discovery Call to find the powerful areas  to focus your efforts to be your most profitable and work with more ease during your day at the office:

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