We have been having a very interesting discussion in the office this last week: Should we start scheduling in-office whitening as a hygiene service? There are a number of positive aspects to this concept. As a very basic business decision, whitening is a productive service on a hygiene schedule and can be a low production service on the doctor’s schedule. When we first began this, the spark of engagement and excitement in the eyes of both my hygienists was revealing. For them, this is new learning; it expands the variety of their day and their role in the office. They are both excited to take on this new challenge and I know will advocate for our patient’s scheduling whitening services.
As I mentioned in previous posts I consider whitening a gateway to other esthetic and restorative services. Who is better prepared in the office to utilize a whitening appointment to discuss incomplete treatment or other treatment options than the hygienist? Often they have the strongest trust-based relationship and having an additional opportunity to build on this is positive. I was also amazed at how excited the assisting team was to be asked to train our hygiene team on in office whitening. As with any discussion there are always pros and cons. In an office with a busy hygiene schedule it could add an additional burden that makes it even more challenging to manage recall and perio services. If whitening is an opportunity for your assisting team to manage their own time and have direct interaction with patients they may not be ready to have it move to hygiene.
Whatever you decide to do remember that the activity of engaging your team in the conversation and working together will have positive benefits. Another piece to keep in mind is that every great idea and system loses energy over time, so keep the innovation coming!