When dental practices have a lapse in treating patients, it is often difficult to catch up with the number of lapsed hygiene patients due in the retention schedule, especially as the doctor’s schedule is often too limited to realistically work in these extra evaluations. The result can be missed production in the hygiene department. The good news is that there is a way to speed up the rebound and catch up. It is the SUPER HYGIENE DAY!
A super hygiene day is a full day where the entire team in your practice is primarily focused on hygiene appointments. This means everyone from the assistants to the doctors and front office staff are able to give their full attention to moving your hygiene appointments through the schedule quickly and thoroughly. It’s also a great opportunity for diagnosing and preplanning needed treatment so your business team will be fully activated as well.
To summarize, the super hygiene day is designed to:
1. Reactivate unscheduled hygiene patients
2. Treat patients who are overdue or past due
3. Prevent a severe gap in treatment
4. Allow diagnosis of treatment
5. Increase case acceptance
How do you prepare for a super hygiene day?
1. Utilize all chairs for hygiene appointments.
It’s as simple as it sounds. Dedicate treatment space to hygiene patients for the entire day. That means you’ll need to prepare each space, of course.
2. Pre-Stock the rooms for this patient-filled day.
While you won’t be using more supplies than you would typically, you will be using those supplies in a shorter span of time. So much sure you’re stocked up for the day. Stock each space to make each appointment run smoothly for your hygienists. The more time they have to focus on patient care, the better.
3. Pre-Set the hygiene trays (as much as possible) to keep the sterilization area moving along on that day.
It might be an unrealistic expectation for your practice to have enough hygiene trays for the entire day, but get as close as you can. It will keep the appointments moving and again allow your team more time with the patient. After an absence, your team and patients need time to reconnect. And even a few extra moments with a patient can make them feel as if they are the most important person your team will see that day.
4. Have the support team ready to assist in all directions.
Everyone’s job on super hygiene day is to support the hygiene team however they can to best serve the patient. That means your team will need to know their role in making the day a success. Make a list of things team members will need to complete that may be outside of their usual duties, and start delegating. Think about who will perform duties such as:
· Prepping each room between patients
· Capturing radiographs
· Providing oral hygiene instructions
· Completing chart notes
· Completing and reviewing treatment plans
· Reviewing and getting acceptance of financial options
5. Consider scheduling periodontal patients first.
Periodontal patients are the most urgent. To prevent a relapse in disease, it’s vital that these patients are seen by the hygiene team regularly and often. Once you have those patients scheduled, fill the rest of the schedule with preventive therapy.
6. Prioritize the doctor’s time with emergency patients and hygiene evaluations.
A dental emergency is a dental emergency. It’s something that should be expected after an absence of treatment. The doctor should schedule crown seats and emergency patients, but the goal is to have the doctor available for hygiene evaluations.
7. Schedule existing patients.
Because the new patient evaluation takes more time, attempt to schedule only existing patients. This will keep the day moving along as quickly as possible.
8. The super hygiene day can be more than one day.
It’s not a fixed holiday, of course. You can celebrate a super hygiene day once or twice per month and quarterly depending on the number of overdue hygiene patients.
9. Consider hiring a temporary hygienist.
Temporary help to meet the demand of having all the chairs filled is a great idea if you have the space.
10. To prevent cancellations, consider having the periodontal patients pre-pay for their reserved appointment.
A hygiene appointment can, at times, be painful and stress-inducing for a patient who hasn’t had a professional cleaning in quite some time, especially if that patient suffers from periodontal disease. Safeguard your schedule against cancellations by taking payment for ongoing treatment up front.
11. Plan for the appropriate time needed.
How do you do that? Count the number of appointments that have been canceled due to the current situation, then add the appropriate number of hours to the super hygiene day.
Have a successful super hygiene day!
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