My partner and I went to lunch today with our hygiene team. There were lots of topics up for discussion, not the least of which was hygiene production. We covered the basic conversations related to production starting with how the effectiveness of our recare system could be improved, to our protocols for scaling and root planing. As I listened a question came to mind that I thought was important to bring up.
“How much are we giving away?”
The question caught everyone off guard for just a moment, and then we almost needed a talking stick to make sure we all had a turn. As we started to think about this question, we all realized we give away services, and for many reasons. One of the reasons we all agreed on, was a lack of clearly defined protocols for prophy, versus perio maintenance. Likewise there were varying opinions about who needed a gross debridement, scaling and root planing or referral to the periodontist. There was a general consensus that when we lacked clarity we charged out the less involved treatment.
Another area we discovered we give away our services was the incidentals, like oral hygiene instruction. This was a good discussion, as we each had our own point of view on what level of OHI is included with the hygiene appointment, and when it becomes a separate service, but across the board none of us bill this out. The conversation had to end simply because we ran out of time and had to get back to the office for our afternoon patients, but the question is a powerful one. I have discovered the many ways that I give dentistry away all afternoon, including all the lost opportunities because I make an assumption about what the patients will or will not do. Worse yet are my assumptions about what other people can or can’t afford.
So How Much Do YOU give away?
Muna Strasser says
Way too much! I have noticed that many of my colleagues in town don’t allow the time we do for hygiene, and don’t give away hygiene aids such as a toothbrush or floss sample size etc anymore… every time I have billed out OHI, it gets refused by insurance companies and gets a very hostile patient on our hands.
It’s all value, perceived and real. I have a friend who received over $3000 in free dental care from me with her discounts- this girl didn’t even share a $50 gift card when we split the bill when she had one at a restaurant. We have a society of people who still think dentists are overpaid, have a huge profit, and don’t value quality. Changing that paradigm is paramount.Tough discussion!