8.14.15 Issue #701 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Belle DuCharme, CDPMA
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Late to Arrive and Late to Seat Patients = Time to be Accountable
By Belle DuCharme, CDPMA

Dear Belle,
We have three hygienists on our staff. Two are always on schedule, get the patients out on time and work a fifty minute schedule. Our other hygienist, who has been with us the longest, is always running behind and thus seats patients late. We gave her a sixty minute schedule to help her, but she is still late. She is the topic of gossip and other members of the staff have complained, but I just stick my head in the sand and wish it would go away. What can I do to keep her on time?
Dr. Bee Fuddled

Dear Dr. Bee Fuddled,
I have heard this same story many times, and it is perplexing that some people are habitually late and others are on time and prepared. Sometimes it is a difference in personality that drives this behavior. The personality that is late doesn’t see or understand that it is a “big deal” and they feel their behavior doesn’t hurt anyone. Some personalities are highly extroverted so the time is wasted in talking to patients, which they feel is important to their work. More introverted types will avoid the idle chatter to give the patient what they came for – a thorough teeth cleaning. 

Some hygienists will claim they have more periodontal maintenance patients than the other hygienists, and thus need more time. Some say they fall behind when having to take x-rays, etc. Sometimes blame will be placed on the doctor for not coming in for the examination on time or for talking too much. In this situation, however, the other hygienists are on time which leaves room to doubt the excuses.

Establishing a breakdown of what should occur in the normal fifty minute hygiene appointment is recommended to see where the time is spent and where it can be managed better. The following is a look at the hygiene appointment without use of an assistant.

Introduce yourself or give salutation to patient 1 minute
Update medical history and HIPAA 1 minute
Issue or concern/chief complaint/notation 2 minutes
Check vitals 1 minute
X-rays/intra oral photos or other diagnostics 5 minutes
Prepare patient: place bib, eyewear, chair, and headrest 1 minute
Periodontal assessment and oral cancer screen 5 minutes
Adult Prophy Normal 15-20 minutes
Polish and floss 4 minutes
Doctor Examination (if necessary) 5 minutes
Treatment plan entry/clinical notes 1 minute
Fluoride/Oral hygiene instructions 4 minutes
Set appointment complete/schedule next visit 2 minutes
Dismissal and escort patient to front office 1 minute
Tear down and set up room for next patient 2 minute
TOTAL TIME 50-55 minutes

Of course there will be variables according to individual patient needs, hygienists’ speed and whether there is use of an assistant. Appointments for scaling and root planing will be structured differently to include delivery of anesthetic. By analyzing the appointment it will be easier to address the areas where time needs to be adjusted.

The morning huddle or daily business meeting is the time to discuss where a hygienist may have a time management issue. It can be decided when the hygienist may need assistance from another team member to keep them on time. During the meeting, each hygienist reports whether they stayed on time or not and why from the day before. Reporting this information will help illustrate who is on time or not. When one member of the team suddenly has to explain why they aren’t on time this can be an incentive to change behavior.

McKenzie Management offers a Free Hygiene Assessment and Hygiene Consulting Program that can take your team to a more productive and less stressful work environment, eliminating the drama and increasing individual accountability. Give us a call today. Want custom team training for your Office Manager or Front Office? We have you covered there as well.

If you would like more information on McKenzie Management’sTraining Programs  to improve the performance of your team, email training@mckenziemgmt.com

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