5 downtime activities to show you are an indispensable Modern Millennial Hygienist

October 5, 2014
Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, BSDH
Shirley Gutkowski, RDH, BSDH

,
Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS
Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS
Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS

Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS, believes dentistry is no longer just about fixing teeth. Dentistry is oral med­icine. Her work helps dental professionals embrace the opportunities and understand the metrics that accurate insurance coding provides. The ADA recognized her expertise by inviting her to write a chapter in its CDT 2017 Companion book and again for its CDT 2018 Companion. She is the author of the DentalCodeology series of easy-to-read, bite-size books. Her latest book, "Teledentistry: Pathway to Pathology" was co-written with Cindy Purdy, RDH, BS. She can be reached at patti@dentalcodeology.com.

Issue 10

In our previous article, we introduced the idea of the Modern Millennial Hygienist (MMH). MMH challenges our brains to use higher level revolutionary thinking. Growth and change can warp-speed return on investment (ROI) and profitability for the practice AND the hygienist. This issue, we will look at how a MMH uses the opportunities downtime provides.

In our previous article, we introduced the idea of the Modern Millennial Hygienist (MMH). MMH challenges our brains to use higher level revolutionary thinking. Growth and change can warp-speed return on investment (ROI) and profitability for the practice AND the hygienist. This issue, we will look at how a MMH uses the opportunities downtime provides.

One of the tenants of the millennials we can learn from is they don’t work off the clock. In the world the pre-millennials created, people struggle with work/life balance. An entire industry cropped up over it. 

This time of year, moving into fall, can be downtime in our offices. There’s a limit to how many times you can organize a drawer. The number of patients may be down and the no-show/broken appointments may be up for a number of reasons … but that doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

5 ideas

Here are five revolutionary ideas you can do to make your job more secure and help the practice serve patients better.

1. Deconstruct your perio protocol. When’s the last time that happened? What usually happens in protocol development is that someone thinks this new product or procedure would work great and it’s added in. Take advantage of the time in September to see if things really are working by printing off the codes and matching them to the perio charts of the patients. Are they getting better?

Additional reading: The Perio Percentage KPI ... how does your dental practice stack up?

2. Create or reconstruct your caries management protocol. How many patients are on your caries management protocols? Are your patients on prescription fluoride experiencing less decay? How does that compare to patients on using remineralization therapies?

3. Evaluate your head and neck oral cancer screening processes. How many suspicious soft-tissue lesions did you refer out for evaluation in the first half of the year? According to the math, a normal practice will see about one or two potentially cancerous lesions a week. If your practice doesn’t, what could you do better?

4. Start a protocol that identifies tongue ties. Have the patient open his or her mouth as wide as possible, then lift the tongue to the palate. How much does the mouth close to accommodate? Check out this link to Tonguetie.net.

5. Learn how to use pubmed.gov. This is the true research you need to do to find out if products are going to work and how. Set up the search feature to look only for human studies and you’ll be off to the races. Find free full articles too. Once you’re signed in, a link in the upper right area (at this writing) will appear to choose showing only free full articles.

Bonus Suggestion: Listen to learning podcasts on Cross Link Radio

Set a team meeting for the hygiene department to compare notes and figure out:

· what changes could benefit the practice most

· how to implement the changes

· calibrate with other hygienists and dentists

· set a strategy for the next slow month (February)

In this time of high hygiene unemployment, a MMH knows making the best use of time is critical. Going home is not a good option for most paychecks, but filing charts or cold calling patients is not a good option for the practice bottom line. Applying the MMH strategies above prove you are a keeping yourself employable and retainable.

Next time, we will look at how MMH weigh the pros and cons of juggling many responsibilities at once.

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Author bios
Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS, and Shirley Gutkowski RDH, BSDH, are known for bringing their Midwestern sensibility to today’s health issues with an eye towards the future. With decades of experience in clinical dental hygiene, writing about it, speaking on it, and pondering over all aspects of it, Patti and Shirley challenge dental hygienists to reach higher levels of revolutionary thinking to meet 21st century patient needs, wants and expectations. Beware their infectious excitement, it can be catchy.

Patti is the author of the fast selling Dentalcodeology books and webinars and popular speaker. Shirley is the coach and primary cheerleader at CAREERfusion and the author of The Purple Guide series of books for dental hygienists.