11.04.11 Issue #504 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Being Prepared May Make All The Difference
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

The hygienist races into her room and sets up for her first patient. She walks out to the reception area, gets her patient and starts her day. All she has looked at so far is what is scheduled in the appointment on the computer. She reviews the health history, vitals, and oral cancer exam. She then goes through the chart hurriedly, and decides what needs to be done, or worse yet, goes by the schedule and doesn't even consider that everything needed has not been put into the computer. Does this scenario sound familiar to you and the way your hygiene department practices?

In order to be prepared and make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible, it is recommended the hygienist go through her patient records the day before, or come in early and go through them. If she only works one day a week, the records can be reviewed a week in advance and gone through by the hygienist.

Having the hygiene department go through the patient records the day or night before will help prevent no-shows, last minute cancellations, patients forgetting pre-med, and scheduling problems. In addition, it will maximize the production for the day and the patient will receive the quality of care they depend on from their dental health team.

There are many things that the hygienist should look for when reviewing patient records.

  • Check for patients who are notorious for not showing or canceling last minute, so the scheduling coordinator is enabled to contact those patients again.
  • Look at the last updated health history to see if there are any notes about the patient having a surgery that may require them to pre-med at the appointment they currently have scheduled.
  • It is also the responsibility of the hygienist to make sure that the patient gets all of the x-rays needed, based on the office policy that has been created by the doctor.
  • Determine if additional chemotherapeutic agents are to be placed, or if the patient is to have anesthesia at their appointment.
  • Instead of rushing to do it once the appointment has started, the front office can contact insurance about any coverage questions there may be regarding treatment pending, or to see if the patient is eligible for a complete series of x-rays.

Once the doctor and hygienist have gone over what treatment is needed at the appointment, the hygienist and the front office will want to make sure that enough time is allotted and that all treatment can be completed in a timely manner. If for some reason there is not enough time in the hygienist's schedule, this is the time to see how the entire team may be able to make the appointment work, whether it is the assistant doing the x-rays, or probings being done in the doctor's chair. Reducing the amount of concerns the day before will help to make the next day go even smoother.

When the morning business meeting is held, a majority of the concerns should already be handled. This is the time to review the plan and remind each other of how the day is going to work as a team. This is the one time during the day the entire team can look at the schedule together and make it work best for the patient and entire staff.

The more prepared the hygienist and the entire team are before they start the day, the smoother the day will go. Not only for the staff, but also for the patients, the opinions they form of the dental practice, and the care they receive while they are there. If the team is running around like mad people, the patients will notice, and may choose to go elsewhere in the future.

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com  and ask us about our One-Day Hygiene Training Program.

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