Director's Message: Running by your head or heart?

Aug. 21, 2013
One question in the Aug. 9 job market survey asked dental hygienists to consider the financial health of the practices that employ them.

One question in the Aug. 9 job market survey asked dental hygienists to consider the financial health of the practices that employ them:

  • 46% selected, “Profitable, but the recession influenced practice growth at least mildly.”
  • 26% selected, “Profitable, but the recession has strained the ability to generate revenue.”
  • 21% selected, “Very profitable, steady revenue gains even during the recession.”
  • 4% selected, “Unprofitable for other reasons.”
  • 3% selected, “Unprofitable due to the long-term impact of the recession.”

I found the last breakout engaging in comparison to the answers from the same poll that showed:

  • 40% of the dental hygienists selected, dental practices, “Never discuss the financial status of the business.”
  • 40% responded, “Usually agree with the factors reportedly influencing business success, since they appear to be valid.”


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How might 93% of the respondents believe that their practices are profitable or very profitable when only 40% have ever been involved in conversations about the financial status of the business, and 40% only agree with assumptions of the business success because “they appear to be valid?”

Here is a gentle nudge. You may need training so that you fully understand all of the statistical information about your practice. If we lack an understanding of the key statistics to track, then we are prone to pick up small pieces of information “on Facebook,” “Google or Yahoo groups,” and/or “in the aisles of conventions” that may or may not be applicable to the customized needs of your practice, dental hygiene department, and career.

True training in key dental practice monitors and numbers help you consider and recognize the critical success factors that represent the tangible profitability (or not) of your practice and or your practice within your practice, the dental hygiene department. This preparation may include practice management workshops and or webinars so that you can understand the numbers that need to be tracked. Consider if you invest in a course on dental practice management and or hygiene department management, you will:

  1. Gain an increased awareness
  2. Know what financial questions to ask vs. blinding agreeing to other people’s suppositions
  3. Begin taking the steps to manage your hygiene department, and build your own prosperous career

The following are six statistically based questions you can begin to ask and answer:

  1. What is your hygiene production per day, month, and year to date?
  2. What is your hygiene production percentage of your total office production?
  3. What percentage of your patients’ of record is active in continuing care?
  4. What is your overall hygiene compensation percentage in regard to the direct hygiene production?
  5. What percentage of your office’s restorative, cosmetic and advanced dentistry is generated in hygiene?
  6. What percentage of your hygiene patients accept treatment presented during their continuing care visits?

Rather than run your career, hygiene department, and/or practice by other people’s assumptions or guesses, I invite you to embrace your statistical head and consider running with that.

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, MSEC
RDH eVillage, Director

Kristine’s Disclosures: Kristine is a dental consultant and trainer with Pride Institute and owner of Dental Influencers, LLC.