Trait #11 – Rock Star Hygienists Start on Time and Stay on Time
You’ve probably heard before that a 60 minute hygiene visit can be broken down into 3 equal parts… 20-20-20. If you’re fortunate enough to have 60 minutes for your adult prophy and perio maintenance appointments, here’s the break down.
The first 20 minutes is for the Hygiene Exam. This includes your perio charting, x-rays, photos, oral cancer exam, medical history review, etc.
The next 20 minutes is for scaling and polishing.
And the final 20 minutes is for the Doctor Exam, scheduling the next appointment, hand-off to the front desk and room cleanup.
In my experience the #1 reason for running behind is too much scaling!
Recently, I heard about Parkinson’s Law (Google it). Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, if you allow 45 minutes for scaling, it’s likely to take that long. If you allow 20 minutes, it will take you that long. I’ve tested it! And if you’re routinely spending more than 20-25 minutes on scale and polish, this patient probably needs something other than a prophy.
If you have 60 minutes and you spend 20 on medical history review, x-rays, perio charting and then 35 on scaling and polishing and another 15 on the doc exam, all of a sudden you’re 10 minutes behind and you haven’t even turned over your room.
Here are a few tips to STAY on time MOST of the time:
#1 – Properly identify perio – If you watched the previous video, I spoke about this. Be sure to dedicate time in each appointment to do a thorough perio exam and charting-specific bleeding points, pocket depths and at least once/year chart recession, mobility, furcation, etc.
I worked with a client once and we timed how long it took from the time the patient was seated to when scaling began. THREE minutes. And every patient was dismissed about 10 min early. Invest in the time you need for a thorough exam to identify health or disease. And remember, if you don’t use the time…you’ll lose it.
#2 – Call doctor early – don’t want to wait for doc exam when you only have 10 min until your next patient is due? Call your doc as soon as you have completed ALL parts of your exam (remember, before you start scaling) and then you can work while you wait.
#3 – Talk while you work – If you’ve highlighted a restorative need, leave the photo up on the monitor and talk about it through the prophy. Or talk about areas that need attention with better homecare. Use this valuable time when you have a captive audience to educate and enroll! Yes, there are critical moments when the patients should be upright to present treatment plans but once you’ve presented your recommendations and really listened to your patient, you can elaborate while you’re working.
#4 – Set a realistic expectation of what you can accomplish – Dr. Bruce Baird teaches that you must ‘handle the objection before it becomes an objection’. If your patient shows up with Black Tea stain on the lingual of every tooth, before you even start, take a photo and tell the patient that you’ll do the best you can in the time you have and that they can either come back for another visit or be happy with the progress you’ve made.
Early in my career in worked in a small town that was literally built by textiles and tobacco and I made the mistake SO many times to try to get every speck of stain and make my next patient wait and it is just not necessary. Especially when I saw the patient lighting up as they walked to their car-every time.
I know we all run behind from time to time but if you step back and take a hard look at the things that hold you back, I promise there’s a solution.