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6.9.06 Issue #222


Is Your Hygiene Department Producing At Industry Standards?

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant McKenzie Management

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Most doctors have a yearly, monthly and daily production goal. As a Hygienist do you know your yearly, monthly, and daily production goals? Do you know how these goals are set? Do you know what your raises are based on? Doctors, have you determined what your Hygienists goals are? Have you made your Hygienists aware of these goals and how you determined what they should be?

Every well-run business sets goals. Dental practices should do the same. These goals help to establish proper fees, salaries, budget, and capital expenditures. Hygiene salaries should be no more than 33% of their adjusted production not including the doctor’s exam fee. 

Many of you are already working and have an established income level set and are thinking, “Well, I am not taking a cut in pay.” Well, you do not have to.  Most the time it is not the compensation that is too high, but that the production is to low. Let us take a look at how we may determine what the daily production for an individual Hygienist may be based on the following example.

  1. Hygienist is paid $40,000.00 a year.
  2. The Hygienist’s benefits and related expenses include
    1. Holiday pay
    2. Vacation pay
    3. Medical
    4. Payroll taxes
    5. Employer pension contribution, etc.
  3. These benefits can or cannot be added to the salaries for a total compensation. This is at the discretion of the doctor.
  4. If the practice pays $3000.00 a year for the above benefits that is added to their gross salary for a total compensation of $43000.00 for the year.
  5. The Hygienist production for that same year is $100000.00
  6. Hours worked per week are 32 for 48 weeks a year

The Hygienist’s daily pay ends up being $223.96 for an eight-hour day. Unfortunately the current Hygienist is being paid 43% of what she produces, when the industry standard is 33% or less. Therefore, if you take the daily pay and divide it by the industry standard you will come up with how much the Hygienist should be producing per day in order to have the compensation be at 33%. This particular Hygienist will need to produce $678.66 a day or no less than $84.83 an hour.

Now, we have goals… but how is the Hygienist going to track these goals on a daily basis? One way is to have a daily monitor that she keeps in the operatory while working.  The Hygienist will mark what procedures were done for each individual patient, how many hours were worked that day, how many cancellations, no shows, and open units. At the end of the day, add the total amount up based on actual fee schedules and divide by the hours worked. This will tell the Hygienist what was produced hourly. Is this meeting the daily goal? If not, what do you do to increase the production in the hygiene department?

One place to look is the interceptive periodontal therapy program. Is 33% of the hygiene production coming from periodontal procedures and ancillary products? An ancillary product does not include x-rays.
 Is the recall system being implemented in your office successful? Are you pre-appointing? Do you have more than 0.5 appointments open per day per Hygienist? As a Hygienist, if you are paid a guaranteed hourly rate and there is one hour of open time, not only does the office lose the hourly production that could have been produced, but the office also loses the income that you were paid during that hour. Do you have an x-ray protocol that is providing the quality of care you want for your patients?

These are the systems that tend to break down in the hygiene department. Having any of these systems not functioning at 100% can make a difference of a hygiene department that is profitable and one that is creating a loss for that office.

Our goals with the Advanced Hygiene Performance Enrichment Program are to help prevent open time, no shows, or cancellations from occurring in the first place and to have the hygiene department meet or exceed the industry standards.
So, if you have determined that your hygiene department is not producing enough…what are you waiting for? Consider having me come in to your practice. I can help prevent further breakdown with your hygiene department.

For more informarion on how to turn your hygiene department around email

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