Be an influential hygienist: Assist your office in purchasing new products
A hygienist is an integral part of any practice. In most practices, hygiene departments generate a substantial part of overall production. It’s only fitting that they should have the very best and latest technology and consumable products in the dental world.
By Jeanne Giovenco, CDPMA
Hygienists are an integral part of any practice. In most practices, hygiene departments generate a substantial part of overall production. It’s only fitting that they should have the very best and latest technology and consumable products in the dental world. Many dentists strive to include requests from their team members when they implement products.
But far too often, this is not the case. If you find yourself in the latter group, take heart! You can take steps to have your voice heard and gain that all-important influence over practice purchases.
In a 2014 RDHeVillage survey,1 hygiene influence on purchasing was fairly low. Although the survey showed that 90% of hygienists do not purchase products themselves, the survey was clear about their influence on the dentist’s purchases. Depending on the product and age of the hygienist, the respondents relayed that they are “involved in the decision” of purchases ranging from 24% to 56% of the time.
If you truly believe a product will make your dental hygiene life and the dental health of your patients better, don’t wait for your employer to read your mind. Take (methodical) action to make your dreams a reality!
Show your worth!
Based on calculations formulated by CPAs serving the dental profession, the hygiene department typically generates 25% of a practice's total revenue.2 If available, generate a report from your practice management software on how much the hygiene department makes for the practice each month compared to overall production—all the better if it’s over 25%! If your desired product has great time-saving or money-saving potential, then your employer can expect to see this number increase.
This should not be only the Boy Scout’s mantra; you, too, should prepare yourself. Take the time to investigate the technology. It’s not enough to see an ad; you should delve into the product’s benefits, how it would fit into your workflow, and other clinician’s reviews. Research online and, if possible, see it in action. A good place to do this is at state and national dental meetings. You should also contact your dental dealer as local branches often hold “Tech Night” events. If some of your colleagues in other offices are using a product that you want to investigate, set a time with them to witness how they use it, and what they like about it.
Now, gather your notes and correlate them to these attributes:
- How will the product offer better or more comprehensive care to patients?
- How will the product save the hygienist’s time?
- How will the product save the practice money?
- How will the product set the practice apart and give it a competitive edge?
Once you are “armed” with knowledge, set a time to speak with your employer. If your office utilizes an office manager, include him/her. Present your evidence concentrating on the attributes mentioned above. Be prepared to offer the cost of the product, any associated implementation costs, and maybe even dealer financing options for capital equipment.
Don’t expect your employer to give you an answer right away, but don’t leave things hanging either. Allow him or her to digest your findings, and look at financials. Before you end your presentation, set another time to review the material and hopefully, set a timeline for purchase.
As individuals outside the dental office, most hygienists take steps to improve their lives. When you consider the time and effort you put into your dental life, you should do the same!
Jeanne Giovenco, Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator, has over 30 years of experience in the dental industry. She is the founder of GIO Dental Consulting, a company that provides strategic efficiency planning for dental offices to increase productivity, patient retention, treatment accept and customer service that builds patient loyalty and referrals. Ms. Giovenco holds certifications in Practice Management Administration, Radiation Health and Safety, CPR and First Aid, OuickBooks, DEXIS and more. She is devoted to assisting doctors and their teams in achieving their objectives and goals. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 315-0965