How to Balance Patients and Production Goals

 

  • Hygienist paychecks are not lost revenue, it’s the tip of the profit iceberg!
  • Production goals matter, but having recurring patients who trust you is just as important.
  • Patient-Centric Care is a win-win. It benefits the patients in the moment and the office in the future when they keep coming back to their trusted hygienist and refer their friends!
  • Do not compromise your ethics, RDHs are in demand and can temp with TempMee while they find an office that respects their ethics.

 

It is hard to make a profit in dentistry!! This has been a looming fact for decades. Dentists did not get a degree in business while going to dental school. Consultants flood the industry breathing new life into old practices. I see value in what consultants bring to the table in regards to department protocols focusing on patient-centric care from their first phone call to the office to the time they exit the building. If we put our energy into exceptional patient care and experience, the profitability will be beyond our wildest dreams.BUT This can only happen when we put people before profits.

As hygienists, it is our responsibility to earn the trust of patients. Provide our patients with evidence of disease processes and create solutions to treat each patient’s individual needs. Dental hygienist ethics often conflict with the business goals of the office they are working for. Doctors are often expecting “production “ outside the unseen lines of evidence-based dentistry. It has been an issue in our field for years that hygienists are treated as a liability rather than an asset to the practice. 

There is some mental block in that they see our paycheck as lost revenue. In reality, our paychecks are the tip of the profit iceberg. If we are building relationships and trust with our patients then we are the heart of the practice. If we spend time with our patients, getting to know their families, jobs, hobbies, priorities, and their treatment barriers, then we are gaining their trust. Trust is what increases profitability. Co-discovery with our patients, sharing digital radiographs and intraoral photos. Making them feel part of the solution to their oral health needs. 

Instead of seeing our value as an asset, hygienists are often seen as a “mill machine” that should be pumping out patients as fast as possible, cutting corners, skipping perio exams, and taking frequent unnecessary x-rays, etc. This negative view of our value stands in the way of a quality patient-centric care model and a healthier, highly profitable practice. Of course, production must be a part of our everyday focus!! There must be production goals !!!. No business can survive without them. Every chair really does have a dollar amount per hour attached to it. But how we achieve those goals matters. Not all offices are created equal, so if you are feeling like your ethics are being compromised to reach those goals, and the primary focus is not on patient care- then it’s time to institute change or look for a practice that partners with your beliefs. 

-Jennifer Kender

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