Over the years, my team and I have worked with hundreds of dental practices. Our focus is to drive practice success by enhancing the level of care being delivered in the hygiene departments. We teach profits through excellence. Many of the dentists and teams have become personal friends. Several of them will call from time to time and we noodle out ideas when they are trying to overcome this or that. So many wonderful friends!
One dentist comes to mind who I speak with from time to time. He has been working with a dental management consulting company for nearly 8 years! He says while some things have improved, he just can’t seem to reach his financial goals. And one of his many frustrations is he “can’t seem to get his hygienists on board”. He’ll always say, “Boy! As soon as I can let Company X go…I’m going get you and your team in here!” As always, my reply is, “Whenever you are ready, you know where to find me”.
He and his administrative team attended a recent course we offered. When I asked why he didn’t bring his hygienists he replied, “I offered to bring them, but they have an hour drive didn’t want to make the trek”. He then went on to say, “They grumble when I suggest CE on their days off”.
If this example was a one-off situation, this blog wouldn’t be written. But in a very high percentage of dental practices there are hygienists (and therefore dentists) who are not providing standard of care.
There many reasons why success isn’t realized and each are worthy of individual blogs. This article only refers to the hygiene department.
Doctor’s who understand the value of a successful hygiene department are experiencing extreme success and satisfaction. And by success, I am not referring to the production which is squeezed out of a hygiene schedule at the end of the day. It is much greater than that. To have a finely tuned hygiene department doctors, you must accept responsibility as the business owner for what is or is not taking place in the hygiene operatory.
When a hygiene department is sick, the dental practice is sick.
The library of comments I hear holds volumes. Here are just a few, with a cold reality of what it costs your practice:
“Jane is going to retire soon and hopefully I’ll be able to find someone who can do a better job” Your chat and polish hygienist is costing you THOUSANDS of dollars every single day.
“I’ve said to Haley that I need her to be diagnosing more SRP, but she just won’t do it” Your chat and polish hygienist is robbing your practice of financial sustainability and allowing your patients to leave your office sick and infected.
“I’m afraid if I fire her, I will lose half of my patients” Statistics show that very few patients are willing to switch dentists in order to follow a hygienist. It is too much trouble and an added expense to re-establish themselves elsewhere.
“I wish I could just clone the one you sent me and get rid of the other three” I can’t clone her, but there are plenty more where she came from! And your practice and patients will LOVE you for it!
“Their moods are terrible if I bring up anything about their job” Their moods are terrible in general and they bring baggage to work and deliver it straight to your patients.
“I’ve said they need to probe, but they say they don’t have time” These hygienists are failing to provide standard of care and are setting you up for legal disaster.
Doctors let me ask you, would you tolerate this behavior at home with your children or loved ones? Do you approach life this way? Imagine saying, “Well…Betty’s going to leave me soon and hopefully my next wife will be better” or “My children’s moods become horrible when I ask them to do chores so I just don’t ask.” or “I’ve asked my oldest to feed the dog while I am at work, but she just won’t do it”?
Of course you wouldn’t!
Yet we allow these things to happen with our business and we do nothing about it. We allow our employees to determine our success without any accountability. In fact, we guarantee their pay, regardless of our own success. Heck, I’ve even seen bonuses paid to employees when the doctors wish they were more productive.
And I get it! It’s easy to just go with the flow and not rock the boat. Here’s a thought doctors. If you’re not going to insist that your team performs for your business, how about thinking about your families?
Many of you have spouses and young children at home. Many have children in college…and grandchildren. Imagine if you could easily add another $500,000 to your annual production by investing in training and setting accountabilities? What would that do for your family? And what would this comprehensive care do for your patients?
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful feeling to go to work each day and know that you and your entire team of employees were not just working to provide for their families, but also doing everything in their power to provide the level of care which creates a successful business. And in so doing, improving the health of your patients and your practice!
When your team is not performing, at a minimum, standard of care they are stealing from your business. And you’re allowing them to rob your family of the financial support they need and deserve. Every licensed hygienist is well aware of the level of care he or she is obligated to provide according to their license. Don’t you think you owe it to your family to be an incredible steward to your business, your retirement and your children’s inheritance?
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