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10.07.05 Issue #187  
Your Computer—Your Team

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant McKenzie Management

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You have all heard the saying, “There is no I in Team or Teamwork,” Well, I tried to look up the word team player in two different dictionaries and neither one of them listed a definition for team player. However, The American Heritage Dictionary did have the definition for Team, which is: a group of people organized to work together. And team mate which is a fellow member of the team, and they had teamwork a cooperative effort. Or in Webster’s New World Dictionary teamwork was defined as, “Joint action by a group of people; coordinated effort”. I feel the last definition describes dental offices the best when it comes to being a team player. To be a part of that team you must cross train in order to be able to help with the cooperative effort. Which should be to make the office a success by helping patients obtain a healthy oral cavity.

We are a service-based industry and the quality of care and the service provided is what really separates good offices from stellar offices. Many people today are crying for better customer service. Their time is important to them and they want to have their appointments on time and get out of the office as quickly as possible with all of their questions answered and feel like they were taken care of.

Do you know how to use the computer in your office? I am not talking about the computer with your digital x-rays, probings, or intra oral camera. I am talking about the operating system that the front desk uses in your office. By being able to utilize the operating system in your office you will be able to provide better customer service for your patients. I know many hygienists are scheduling their own appointments now and loving it. However, I am talking more about teamwork and being able to help when you are able to in all areas of the office. Just think how this looks on a resume too. Not only are you a good hygienist but you are also a team player that is trained on a computer operating system. Resumes are not just about what you learned in college. They also show the type of person you are when it comes to your initiative to educate yourself and be a team player.

More importantly, knowing how to function the operating system in your office will help lead you to being more independent and viewed as a team player amongst your peers. At the bare minimum you should be able to:

  1. Make appointments and attach it to the patient’s recall record
  2. Know where to put a missed or last minute canceled appointment
  3. Look up insurance benefits
  4. Put in a treatment plan
  5. Print a route slip
  6. Open a patient’s file in order to look up phone numbers, age, or any pertinent information about a patient. It is much faster than pulling a chart
  7. Find and read patient and appointment notes
  8. Look up information about other family members and when they are due for their continuing care appointment or treatment with doctor
  9. See if the patient was confirmed

Being able to do all of this enables you, as a hygienist to pick up the phone if it is ringing. Let’s face it, there are times when you are in between patients and the front desk is busy dismissing patients and the phone rings, but you are unable to help that patient on the phone because you don’t know how to operate the computer system in your office. Wouldn’t it really show the team player you are if you were able to do this to help your fellow team member? There is also the time when the patient no shows and you have to ask the front desk to write letters and make notations in the computer for you, because you do not know how. Yet, you are not with a patient and you have the time to do it.

Being a team player is helping everybody and being able to help everybody. Just make sure you know how to do the job, and do it right. So, if you are not able to operate the computer software in your office you may be selling you and your team short.

Jean conducts 2 day Hygiene Performance Enrichment Programs  for The Center for Dental Career Development and McKenzie Management in La Jolla/San Diego, CA. Contact her at  or call 1-877-777-6151 for more information on her Advanced Hygiene Training Programs.

Interested in having Jean speak to your dental group? Email us at or call 1-877-777-6151

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McKenzie Management's Seminar Schedule
2005 Location Sponsor Information Topic Speaker
Oct. 14 Riverside, CA Riverside Implant Study Group 951-279-7847 Top Issues Sally McKenzie
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Nov. 18-19 Griffin, GA Endo Magic Root Camp 877-478-9748 Top Issues Sally McKenzie
Dec. 1 Cincinnati, OH Cincinnati Dental Society 513-984-3443 Breakdown Sally McKenzie
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* The McKenzie Company will be exhibiting at this location

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