How you help patients become healthier in your practice is a big question. That’s even more true when the role of your hygienists is unclear. The best method of serving patients well can become hazy due to procedural problems that have nothing much to do with care.
Hygienists in the Dental Practice
For example, there is some confusion over the relationship between the insurance company, dentist, and hygienist. Essentially, what level of care are hygienists allowed to handle and why? This brings up multiple concerns such as their ability to diagnose, who the patient wants to hear recommendations from, and how a periodic exam is charged.
The only way to figure out the right answers to these areas of interest is to take a hard look at your individual dental practice. There is no one perfect solution, no size fits all. You have to decide what is appropriate based on your relationship to hygienists on your team as well as their skill and knowledge levels.
Who Does What?
Clarity is a great motivator. When people understand their purpose, they are better able to carry it out well. The only way you can have clarity around the role of hygienists that will then seep over to them is to separate the expectations you feel bound by from what you actually think is best.
Taking the time to consider the big picture of your practice can go a long way. You can only maximize all the personnel resources at your disposal, including a hygienist’s communication skills, technical knowledge, personal perspective, and time, if you know why you’ve hired them in the first place.
First, determine where a hygienist’s value fits into your practice. What clinical service is your best and what behavioral service is your best? Most importantly: Who provides these services and why?
Where do hygienists fit into your dental practice? Give me a shout in the comments below!