Staying on Schedule in the Hygiene Department
A major concern for many dental offices is staying on time in the hygiene department. We know that our patients hate to wait. The problem is, when dealing with human beings, a schedule doesn’t always run as planned. A patient may arrive five minutes late. Not a big deal for that particular patient, but if there are any other delays, such as changes in their medical history that must be noted, a particular tooth bothering them that necessitates an unplanned radiograph, or the patient just wants to talk a little more than usual, then we suddenly have an appointment running 15 or 20 minutes late. If the next patient has any unplanned issues, the time problem snowballs. Each patient is started later and later. If the dentist is tied up with another patient and does not come to the hygiene room in a timely manner, the situation becomes even worse. The schedule is now 45 minutes behind and everyone is frazzled and upset.
Having a strategy for staying on time and on schedule is important, even though we realize that despite the best plans we can make, sometimes we will still be late. We know that without a plan, the likelihood of being constantly behind is almost assured. So, we need to organize as best we can and all work together, front office and clerical staff, to keep the hygiene schedule moving. Here are some ideas:
1. Patient Has Not Arrived for Scheduled Appointment
“Mr. Patient, I am so sorry, but that will make your appointment start too late to complete your necessary services. Let me reschedule your time so everything can be done appropriately.”
2. Patient Cannot be Reached at the Five-Minute Late Mark
3. Patient Shows Up Late
4. Patient is Frequently Late
5. Timing of Dentist Exam
6. Delay of Dentist Exam
While no schedule can run perfectly, we can keep on time by making plans and enlisting the help of the entire dental team. Keeping our patients happy is one of our most important jobs. Keeping on time is an essential part of this.
Carol Tekavec RDH is the Director of Hygiene for McKenzie Management. Carol can improve your hygiene department in just one day of training “in your office.” Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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