Protecting your investment
Saving Time “Time is Money”
Michelle Strange: A Tale of Two Hygienists presents this week’s TIPisode: quick and easy tips to keep you up to date and presented by the experts in the profession. Now, get ready for your unofficial TIPisode.
Dr. Joy D. Void-Holmes: Hello, everyone. Dr. Joy here. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a dental hygienist with a doctorate degree. I have close to 30 years’ experience in the dental industry. Normally, you hear me talk a lot about dental instruments, but I want to talk to you today about how to protect your investment. That’s right. How to protect your instruments.
Let’s consider the following scenarios. You’ve just spent thousands of dollars on new instruments. You have everything you want and more. You have just unpackaged the instruments, and you are headed to the sterilization area with the instruments on the tray, and they slip out of your hand. You pick up the instruments off the ground, and the unthinkable occurs. The tips are broken on over half of the instruments. What could you have done to protect your investment?
You are on your last patient for the day. You have to be out of the door by 5:00 p.m. to make sure you are to aftercare to pick up your child or they are going to start charging you $50 per minute if you are late. Your last patient who was scheduled for 4:00 p.m. arrives 15 minutes late. Every minute counts. You open your pack of instruments, and you spread them out on the tray. Each time you go to pick up a different instrument, you fumble around because the instruments are disorganized on your tray. You finish the patient at 5:04, you arrive to aftercare to pick up your child, and you are 2 minutes late. That’s right. $100 out of your pocket. What could you have done or what could you have used to save an extra two minutes of time during your procedure?
You have been at the same practice for 10 years. It’s time for another raise. You have run out of ways to increase your chairside production to justify the additional income you’re asking for. You come across an article that states, “If I use cassettes, I can save an average of five to seven minutes per procedure,” so you make the investment. You currently see seven patients, and now you are saving approximately eight minutes per patient, so you decide to add one additional patient to your schedule per day. Your average procedure nets the office $125. With $125 additional per day working a 5-day work week, you’ve just generated an extra $30,000 for the office for the year without spending more time.
In Maryland, there was an unfortunate situation that occurred that likely could have been prevented. A dental rep came into the office to showcase some products, which is common practice. In order to get to the office where she wanted to showcase the product, she had to walk down the same hallway that was used to transport instruments to the sterilization area. She and a dental assistant happened to be passing by one another in the hallways. The dental assistant was in the process of taking instruments to the sterilization area for processing. They had recently been used in a procedure. The two inadvertently bumped into one another causing the dirty tray of instruments to fall. There was a needle on the tray that accidentally found a home in the foot of the dental rep. How could this have been prevented?
In each scenario, the use of a cassette would have yielded a different outcome. Guys, there are so many benefits to using instrument cassettes in the dental practice. First and foremost — and this is the one thing that most people don’t often consider — is that the holes or the spaces in the cassettes allows adequate penetration of the sterilant that is used for cleaning and sterilization so you know for sure your instruments are being properly sterilized when in the autoclave.
Second, they help improve efficiency. Assistants and clinicians don’t have to worry about assembling sets of instruments for each procedure if they use cassettes and set them up by procedure. In addition, the instruments remain intact throughout the procedure, transporting, cleaning, sterilization, and storage. Cassettes make things easy to find. They assist with instrument management, making organization a breeze. They also help to save time by keeping things together, and we all know that time is money.
Buying instruments without a cassette is a lot like buying a pair of red bottoms with no bag. You have to protect your investment. All instrument companies manufacture cassettes. Like instruments, there is no one-size-fit-all. You have to determine the needs of your practice, the types of instruments you have, the size of your autoclave, and the design of your storage area.
Protect your investment. It will be the best money you ever spent.
Michelle Strange: We hope you enjoyed this week’s TIPisode. Be sure to reach out to our guest experts and let them know how helpful their tips were. Follow A Tale of Two Hygienists on Facebook, Instagram, and head over to ataleoftwohygienists.com and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep listening for more awesome content from your unofficial dental hygiene podcast.