So in previous posts both Dr. Mark Kleive and I have discussed the concept of a productive and profitable hygiene department. The first step in achieving this is to analyze your hygiene practice separately from the production and collections of the doctors. Once you separate out the production and collections, the next step is to determine what to measure, and of course lastly measure it!! The truth is we only manage what we measure, everything else is on cruise control. When it comes to hygiene monitors one of the top numbers I track is hygiene salaries as a percentage of hygiene collections.
Hygiene teams get paid typically in one of three ways, hourly, commission, or a combination of the two. Regardless of the method you are using the number to measure on an ongoing basis is the percentage of hygiene collections that are represented by employee expense. A grey area when calculating this number is how you define salaries, so what is included. For some the number is the amount the pay that employee. Others include every expense associated with that person’s employment. Of course there are a variety of numbers in between. At a minimum I suggest you use the hygiene salaries plus any matching employee expenses that are paid to the government.
So with all of that calculated I know you are still wondering what the percentage should be, what is the magic number. My friend Gary DeWood teaches that it should be less than 40% with a healthy hygiene department. There are other practice management that teach a range between 33-40%. It seems to be widely agreed that when hygiene salaries exceed 40% of hygiene collections this is an area that needs management and change either by increasing hygiene production and collections, or reducing salaries. If your hygiene numbers are in the right range by all means take a deep breath, but don;t think it means you can start ignoring hygiene. First anything we measure has to be measured over time, so keep running the numbers. Next if the number is 39% ask yourself if there is a way to get it to 39% without compromising the quality of care or patient experience? It never hurts to increase efficiency!