Dental Consultant Advice: Hygiene Downtime Checklist
This checklist was developed based on the work habits of a hygienist with an “old school” work ethic who gives her employer an honest day’s work and then some. She doesn’t need to be told what to do when there is downtime. She just does it.
Hygiene downtime happens, and you have the right to have your salaried hygienist take a longer lunch break when there’s an open slot before lunch or if the last hygiene slot of the day is open however, as many staff live paycheck to paycheck, I recommend getting the employee’s agreement to stay productive instead.
• Is there another hygienist in need of help including charting? ____
• Is an assistant in need of help? ____
• Is there a room you can help turn over and get the next patient seated? ____
• Check the schedule. Is there an emergency patient that needs an x-ray? ____
• Get instruments from each op that hygienists are done with and get them bagged for sterilization (sensor holders etc.). ____
• Administer local anesthesia if the doctor wants you to. ____
• Sharpen instruments. ____
• Sterilize instruments. ____
• Stock and put away supplies. ____
• Set up trays. ____
• Set up whitening trays. ____
• Ensure your room is spotless and stocked. ____
• Get your charts ready for the next day. ____
Help The Front Desk:
• Check to see if charts have been pulled and if any are in need of filing. ____
• Check next patient coming for another hygienist. Is the schedule on time? ____
• Send recall cards. ____
• Send handwritten notes to patients that haven't been in for a while. ____
• Find out from the front desk what patient calls you can help with (unconfirmed, overdue re-care, unscheduled, inactive) ____
Note: Do not make any calls until you show and are comfortable with specific telephone skills. Sample call guidelines:
”Mrs. Jones, this is Betty from Dr. Smith’s office. I just wanted to let you know you for hygiene appointment including your oral cancer screening. Can you call me back at ___________ to see what day and time works for you? Thank you and have a great day. ”
"Hi Mrs. Jones! Dr. Jones asked me to call you after reviewing your chart. He noticed you haven’t been seen in a while. Can you call me at ___________ to discuss? Thank you and have a great day”.
Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a speaker in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at
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There is the good, the bad and the ugly of dental practice management, but many dentists will still tell you the probability is your dental consulting will work if you and your consultant are on the same page. It stands to reason that if a dental consultant had little value, worth or benefit that consultant could not stand up to harsh economic realities for long. A veteran dental consultant is also a "personal coach" who shold bring management wisdom based on "in the trenches" experience along with systems and protocols to that have been successfully implemented in other practices. Top dental consultants talk and network with each other. They pay attention to what systems work and don't across many dental practices.
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What gets monitored, gets managed. It is as simple as that. The only way to monitor what gets done is with daily stats especially for your weak areas. For example, one employee should be specifically responsible for calls to patients who are unscheduled, overdue for re-care or need reactivation. Other staff can and should help in coordination with the accountable employee.
What most practice owners are lack in knowledge is not how to book an appointment, but rather how to be an effective leader. The best systems in the world are useless if the staff do not comply. Good leaders know how to get staff to willingly follow through and comply.
Questions To Ask
Do you and/or your staff have to travel or does the consultant come to you?
Is the program mostly one on one consulting versus seminars or courses with multiple clients in attendance?There are advantages to both.
If the dental consulting is one on one who will actually deliver the consulting? I recommend knowing who your specific dental consultant will be prior to signing on the dotted line.
Is program based on a specific dental practice management system? You want to avoid cookie-cutter programs. Ensure the program will be tailor-made to fit your practice's specific needs.
The cost (including travel expenses and downtime) is certainly not the only factor, everything else being equal, it is still a major factor to consider. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little.
Top Dental Practice Mangement Consultant
My name is Kevin Tighe. Consultant. Coach. Mentor.
My mission is to advise, recommend and help implement proven systems to grow your practice .
Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually partner and now sole owner.
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