5 Tips for how hygienists can manage their hygiene schedule

5 Tips for how hygienists can manage their hygiene schedule

This blog presents tips for hygiene patients to be seen efficiently so hygienists can have productive days.

Many hygienists rebook their patients six months in advance once the patient completes their hygiene appointment. They’re scheduled for their next visit when finishing their cleaning, which may be six months in advance.

So many of the hygienist schedules are full several months into the future and missing an appointment may be difficult to reschedule for the patient.

We know that the time with the hygienist is valuable, so we really want to think about how we can use this time effectively.

Here are 5 tips to help hygienists manage their hygiene schedules.

Tip One: schedule patients 6 months and 2 weeks in the future

First tip is to schedule the patient six months and two weeks in the future.

A lot of insurances have benefits that require the patient to wait at least six months between

But if you schedule at six months exactly, and there’s a no-show, or if there’s an opening in
the schedule, you may not have any patients to use to fill that appointment who is eligible for cleanings with their insurance.

Ideally you can schedule patients six months and two weeks in the future.

Then, if there’s an opening in the schedule, you should have two weeks-worth of patients that you can call on to move their appointment up a week or move it up a couple days to fill the opening.

Tip Two: Set your patient-per-day goal and work to maintain that

Also, start with the ideal schedule at the beginning of the day.

What that means is if your goal is to see eight patients a day and you think there might be one no-show schedule nine patients.

This way, if there is one no-show, you’ll still see at least eight patients in an eight-hour day.

Always have the schedule prepared the day before, and this way you’ll have a better chance of success.

If your goal is to see eight patients today and you’ve only scheduled six, it’s going to be hard to meet your goal.

Also, when you get to the office first thing in the morning, scan the schedule and look for any patients that were unconfirmed or if there’s any uncertainty about that patient coming in because of previous missed appointments.

Whatever patients seem questionable about keeping their appointment, go ahead and call them again to reconfirm these appointments and just identify any issues sooner rather than later.

If there is a no-show in the schedule, go ahead and call the next person to see if the patient can come in a little bit earlier.
It may give you more time with that patient.

This patient may already be close by the office and on their way. Now if they come in a little bit earlier than they had planned, just knowing that you’re ready, then it may give you more time with them. Also, it might give more time after that appointment to bring in another patient.

And if your next patient’s not able to come in at least earlier than the normal time, at least you’ve reconfirmed that patient and reduced the risk of having two no-shows in a row.

Tip Three: Have a call list of patients who can come in early

It’s also important to keep a short call list of patients who want an appointment sooner than
later if possible, and when an opening appears, be ready to call them.

These may be people who are retired or live close by or have a day off that could come in on a short notice. Look for restorative patients in the office that need hygiene appointments.

Sometimes the doctor may have finished a filling and the patient needs a cleaning as well, so they could benefit from going ahead and having their hygiene visit while they’re already there.

The hygienist can be efficient in the order of their treatment, taking care to get certain things done early x-rays or other notes so the doctor can check before the prophy.

Tip Four: Have the doctor check early during treatments rather than at that the end

Don’t be afraid to have your doctor check early during treatment so that you’re not waiting for the doctor to check at the end of the treatment.

Having the doctor to come in during the middle of the hygiene treatment is helpful so that as soon as the hygienist is done, the patient can leave and the hygienist can prepare for the next patient.

There’s no need for the hygienist waiting a couple minutes after they’ve completed care for the doctor to come in because after seeing eight or more patients, that’s going to add more time at the end of the day waiting in between patients.

Doing an assisted hygiene procedure

The other thing is if two patients show up at the same time, you can do an assisted hygiene

What that means is use an extra room and put the extra patient in the extra room and have
a rover or another dental assistant go ahead and take X-rays on the patient, polish the patient, and then the hygienist can go in that room and do the scaling and the things that the hygienist can help with.

Tip Five: Work with the front desk to coordinate appointment times to maximize patient flow

Not every patient will need 50 minutes. Some patients may need less time, some patients may need more time if you’re doing a quad scale or deep cleaning.

Maybe it’s a child, or maybe it’s a patient with less teeth that could need less time and communicating with your front desk helps so that they know that they can help you rearrange patients. When the hygienist schedules the patient for their next cleaning it helps establish the appointment length required for that particular patient.

When you can slide an easy patient that needs less time because they have less teeth or a child into a spot when there may not be a full 50 minutes available, having the right patient to fit into this shorter time block is very helpful.

The front desk can be a great aid to help build a good schedule. Just having that communication to know which patients need what amount of time.

Finally, thank you to Kristen Clark for helping contribute several of these ideas and for just maintaining a super hygiene schedule. We all appreciate what the hygienists do.

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