Are your dental hygienists productive enough?

Balance the business side of your dental practice

Do you know if your dental hygienists are producing at the correct level to balance out their compensation? Knowing the guidelines to evaluate your team’s performance is a win for both dentists and hygienists. The dentists win because they can confidently set a production goal and measure to know how each hygienist is performing. The hygienists win because they know exactly what is expected and can be appreciated when they are meeting their goals.Evaluate dental hygienist production | Business side of dentistry

Measure your dental hygienists performance using Dentrix

First, gather the total compensation for each hygienist. Look at your payroll reports and include all moneys paid to your team – include vacation, bonuses, reimbursement for health insurance, etc. In fact, according to Heidi Arndt, hygienist consultant, you should also include all the taxes you pay as well. Now, take this total compensation number and multiply by 3. This is the production goal for the hygienist.

Next, run a Production summary to see how much the hygienist produced. In Dentrix, go to Office Manager, Practice Analysis, Reports and select Production Summary – uncheck by category and uncheck the other reports. Look at this production number and compare it to the production goal – how is your hygienist performing?

Meet with your team to share results

Most importantly (and often, most stressfully), you need to meet with your dental hygienists to share these results. If this is your first meeting to talk through these numbers – and the numbers show that they are not meeting their goal – expect to receive an unpleasant reaction. This type of meeting is difficult – its much more fun for dentists and hygienists to discuss clinical issues rather than business ones. So, acknowledging that this is difficult for everyone is a good first step.

Identify practical next steps to improve your hygienist production

It’s often said if you want to make more money, there are only two ways – make more or spend less. When we’re looking at dental hygienist production goals, the same is true – they can either produce more or reduce their compensation. To increase production, the first low-hanging fruit is to make sure the work they are already doing is accurately documented in your dental practice management software. Set up each hygienist as her own provider and then make sure the color matches this provider every day in the appointment book.

To reduce compensation, another first step is to identify the hours the hygienist is working. If your hygienist has a full schedule and a productive day – but then stays another full hour to enter clinical notes, she has just destroyed her production – while she is feeling that she is extremely dedicated to her patients by working late in order to accurately document their care. Look at your timeclock and compare it to your Dentrix appointment book to see if your hygienists are simply clocked in for too many hours. Then, set an appropriate guideline.

Appreciate your team when they hit the goal

You may discover that your team is already out-producing their production goals – in that case, thank them! In your next full staff meeting review the goals and their performance and spend 10 minutes just glowing about your hygiene team and how much you appreciate them clinically and on the business side of dentistry.

One thing to watch here – are your numbers accurate? If you are charging out your standard fee and then entering a manual adjustment for the insurance withhold, then your day sheet will show a production number that is not realistic. If you work with inflated production numbers, this may lead you to believe that your hygienists are meeting their production goals, when in fact, they are not. This is one great reason to set up fee schedules for your PPO dental insurance plans to use the allowed amount in the ledger. This brings your production numbers back to reality.

Evaluating your dental hygienists production is just one way to run a successful dental practice. If you’re interested in new ideas on running a dental practice, please subscribe to my weekly blog. One of the biggest challenges to managing a dental practice is managing dental insurance. With dental insurance handled, then dental marketing for new patients becomes a primary focus. In today’s day of online reviews, handling patient complaints well is essential. As your practice grows, hiring dental staff becomes more important. With 16+ years of dental practice management experience, I’m open to your questions to help you run a successful dental office.

Feel free to email me.

AUTHOR: Jill Nesbitt
1 Comment
  • Hi,

    I’m the new office manager of my clinic since January this year. With our statistics, it’s seems that there is a problem in the hygiene schedule. We have 4 dental hygienist and 4725 active patients. There is a lot of cancellation in the hygiene department ( about 20 hours per week lost) and not enough futur treatment goes out out. Can you help me!?

    PS: Sorry for my English I’m french! ;

    Sandy Hébert
    Executive manager

    May 2, 2014