A rainbow has arrived – no more fallow time!
For years, dentistry has weathered the pandemic storm (“Hurricane”) of shut-down, isolation, cabin fever, new normal and re-build. It experienced waves of shock, fear, worry, paralysis, confusion, conflict, loss and change. It demanded us to work together, seek help and lead like never before, regardless of our position. It forced us to learn, innovate and protect ourselves while navigating how to provide oral health in the new normal.
Dentistry demonstrated how adaptable, resilient and strong it is as a profession to have survived all the damage. In fact, we came out on top and will probably never again be deemed “non-essential” to health care. The last of the COVID hurricane is now complete and it is time for the rainbows that follow with good news.
In early August 2022, the Ontario colleges representing dentists, dental hygienists, technologists and denturists finally all agreed at once; they posted revised guidelines to remove all fallow time in any patient care. They have stated that aerosol mitigation for in-person care no longer requires fallow time or closed rooms. They also acknowledged that other jurisdictions, that did not require fallow time and closed operatories, did not show an increased incidence of transmission of COVID associated with dental care.
The lingering time frame it took to make this revision has had significant impact on dental practices. It has resulted in a massive increase in unscheduled patients, a backlog of overdue and late patients, disrupted oral health intervals, reduced patient volumes and less opportunity for dentists to examine or diagnose conditions and treatment plan.
Now what? Embrace the rainbow – reduced chaos and scheduling complications. As a dental team, you should communicate, plan and respond to this opportunity of release from restrictions (“the storm”) and take action today. Some tips on how to strategize include:
- Schedule a team meeting and discuss the changes and a date for implementation.
- Develop an admin plan to remove all unproductive fallow time from providers’ schedules to take advantage of the openings now available..
- Confirm the allocation for each provider to a treatment room and how to deal with the current patient appointment time adjustments that may be needed.
- Analyze the list of active patients overdue for hygiene and begin contacting to schedule in newly available time.
- Have hygienists adjust their delivery of services for time management, PPE, room infection control, posting treatment and prescheduling.
- Follow the tried and true Transitions “Balanced Hygiene Schedule Formula” as a guide.
Time requested (patient need)
+ Time honored (admin doesn’t shorten)
= Time billed (coded accurately)
Knowing what occupies our minds today – a looming recession, inflation, increased overhead, staff shortage and government pending socialized dentistry – makes it more important to act on this rainbow now!
About the Author
Lisa Philp RDH, is the Chief Visionary Officer and founder of TGNA: Transitions Group North America; a full-service coaching company for dentistry. Her career began in clinical hygiene, however she quickly transitioned into a world class coach; creating a periodontal disease management program, in which she coached thousands of dental professionals. Lisa is an industry leader, author, consultant, coach and speaker. Through Lisa’s leadership, TGNA has developed into one of dentistry’s premier full-service practice development companies.