I am responding to the article "Expand Your Mind" (September 1995). The concept of assisted-hygiene practices was a program I evaluated for my employer two years ago. I have a degree in public health administration and found this to be an excellent time to apply skills I am unable to use in private practice.
The article failed to mention the negative aspects to this type of scheduling. I will use productivity data given in your article for accurate comparisons:
8 hour workday - 1 patient per hour average fee charged per patient - $54
2 employees - 2 operatories used
8 patients seen by RDH #1
8 patients seen by RDH #2
16 patients per day x $54 = $864 - salary for 2 RDHs at $18 per hour = $288 office production = $576
1 RDH - 1 CDA:
12 patients RDH + CDA per day x $54 = $658
- salary for RDH at $24 per hour = $192
- salary for CDA at $6 per hour = $48 office production = $408
Two RDHs will generate higher revenues for the office by an additional $168 per day.
The assisted-hygiene concept does not produce the revenues for the office as expected when evaluating the program. The benefits of this type of scheduling will maximize hygiene skills in areas where hygiene shortages occur. But let`s not use this concept to pad the hygienist`s or doctor`s pockets. The time a hygienist spends with patients builds confidence and solidifies relationships.
With all due respect to the authors, all factors must be addressed to fully understand the concept of assisted-hygiene practices.
Dina M. Canasi, RDH, BS