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10.21.05 Issue #189  
Why Morning Meetings Are Important for Hygiene

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant McKenzie Management

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Does your hygienist just walk in, set up her room, and start seeing her patients?  Does the doctor even know when she will need exams, whom she will be taking x-rays on, or what x-rays will be taken? These are just a few of the items that would be gone over at a morning meeting with the entire team present. The morning meeting is great for the hygienist and team to communicate openly about the day and patients without the fear of being over heard.

With the scheduling coordinator distributing copies of the daily schedule to everyone, consider reviewing in addition to today, the next two work day’s schedules so that anticipated production and/or decreased stress can be acted upon early. The team will make notes on the schedule as the day’s events are discussed.  Whoever engineers the appointment schedule gives comments on each patient being seen.  So for example, if the practice has a Patient Coordinator whose job description is the Hygiene Department, she states that Mrs. Jones is coming in at 9:00 this morning and mentions any items of a personal nature such as special events in patient’s lives, births, marriages, deaths, or patients that have been referred.

The hygienist then carries the meeting with stating what she will do for Mrs. Jones today, i.e., professional cleaning and she’s due for two bitewings.  In addition, the amount of scheduled production for the hygienist would be discussed.  The hygienist might note any openings in the schedule or that she may not take the entire scheduled time should someone with a child want to be seen.

It is very beneficial for the hygienists to review their individual patient charts and schedule for the day prior to the meeting.  Treatment that is to be provided should be discussed as well as any periodontal therapy and unscheduled treatment plans that the hygienist can reinforce.

We also find through our consulting with hygiene departments, that the hygienists are not meeting the x-ray philosophy of the practice.  In other words, are bitewings taken once a year, every six months or every 18-24 months?  In order to measure this department statistic, run a production report on yourself for the past 6 months and add up the number of adult and child prophys.  Next, compare that with how many “sets” of bitewings you took for the same time frame.  An example of 500 prophys should realize 250 sets of bitewings if the practice philosophy was once a year.  If this is not being met, the morning meeting is the best way to begin to identify who is not receiving bitewing x-rays.  The morning meetings help to bring an “awareness” to the hygienist and the doctor.

Meeting in the morning before the day begins, helps to cut down on miscommunication or lack of communication. The meeting should take about fifteen minutes and that can be for example for a team of fourteen consisting of four front desk, four assistants, four full time hygienists, and two doctors. Of course the team has to come to the office early in order to be prepared for the meeting. However, this time will be invaluable when it comes to the increase in production and the joy that will result because of less confusion and stress.

There are many things that will be gone over at the meeting. Here are some of the suggestions that you may want to include in your meeting:

  • Will the schedule work?
  • Is more time or less time needed for a procedure?
  • Is there open time that needs to be filled?
  • Is there a time during the day that help may be required by somebody because of special needs of the patient?
  • Financial concerns?
  • Insurance concerns?
  • Does the doctor need to do an exam?
  • Can more treatment be completed in the time allotted?
  • Are production goals being met?
  • When does the hygienist need the doctor in her room?
  • Treatment Pending with doctor.
  • Patients that need to schedule hygiene appointments.

The meeting should be concluded by summarizing concerns that need to be addressed regarding a patient.  These might be financial or personal considerations. Some of the benefits you will receive by committing to this organized daily regimen are increased organization by knowing the particulars of each patient’s case in advance. Increased productivity by using the information shared during this “focus session” to reinforce the need for completion of necessary treatment. Enhanced treatment acceptance by reinforcing the doctor’s comprehensive treatment plan and increased perio therapy and patient retention.

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