Hygiene Speedometer: 94 minutes for a visit and what services you would add, part 3

In the March 6 issue of RDH eVillage, we asked for your input on how long it takes you and your contemporaries to perform certain hygiene activities and functions.

May 20th, 2014
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In the March 6 issue of RDH eVillage, we asked for your input on how long it takes you and your contemporaries to perform certain hygiene activities and functions. The survey is now closed, and here are the final results!

Part 1 of the results and includes time averages for meeting and greeting patients, reviewing medical histories, and radiographs. Click here to read the results.

Part 2. This installment includes periodontal assessment, polishing, scaling, patient education, and restorative assessment. Click here to read the results.

The third part of the survey results below focuses on the fact thata majority of the respondents told us they performed many of the services in conjunction with other services.

  • Use of intraoral camera: Average time of two minutes
  • Fluoride varnish/treatment (as needed): Average time of two minutes
  • Patient records/charting: Average time of four minutes
  • Blood pressure: Average time of one minute
  • Genetic test for susceptibility to oral diseases: Was not included in the final group because only 22% of the respondents recorded they offer this service.
  • Caries susceptibility tests: Was not included in the final group because only 20% of the respondents said that they offer a caries test.
  • Oral cancer screening: Average time of one minute
  • Nutritional counseling: Average time of one minute
  • Tobacco counseling: Average time of two minutes
  • Post-appointment breakdown and new set-up: Average time of five minutes

One question posted to hygienists was, “What service would you like to begin incorporating into your hygiene appointment?” My favorite responses were:

  • “Please, I am "maxed" out! I have an hour per patient. and still run over sometimes.”
  • “No more! This is more than enough.”
  • “Are you kidding?"
  • “Bathroom break for the hygienist and maybe a drink of water! 3 minutes.”

The more clinical responses to the previous question were:

  • Myofunctional therapy for sleep apnea and tongue thrust
  • Sealants
  • Salivary testing
  • Lasers
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Smoking cessation
  • Nutritional counseling

The number 1 response to a question regarding what procedures did we “miss” with the survey was: “Waiting for the doctor’s exam.” The second most common response was scheduling recare/next hygiene appointment

Now What?

So what do you do with all of this incredible information? One of our roles as dental hygienists is to help our teams understand the many key elements of a hygiene visit. As you can see from this survey, it varies. It is imperative that you are clear about the services you provide and why you provide them, and then you can teach all your team members (and employers), so they are able to communicate this to patients who may not realize that the hygiene session focuses on prevention and intervention of disease.

Team Activity

  1. During your next team meeting, give each team member a list of the services you provide in your ideal hygiene visit and ask them to estimate the time in minutes that they think this service/activity takes in your office. This is particularly revealing when done between hygienists within the same practice.
  2. Then ask your fellow team members: “Which actions need further explanation because you are unclear what that service is?”
  3. For the services you would like to begin to offer, consider scheduling a meeting with your employer to discuss the benefits of incorporating these elements into your hygiene appointments. This is also an excellent opportunity to problem solve any misalignments in hygiene beliefs and or treatment between hygiene and dental providers.

Thank you all for taking the time complete the original survey and read the results.

Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, MSEC
Director, RDH eVillage

Kristine’s Disclosures: Kristine’s website is www.kristineahodsdon.com, and she is a consultant and trainer with Pride Institute.

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