The US Healthcare system is the most expensive healthcare system on earth…..yet our outcomes are not much better than anyone else. We have to find innovative ways to reduce cost without cutting quality or our healthcare system, and our country, face failure. The scope of practice of “Mid-level” providers in Medicine is broad –Physicians’ Assistants (PA) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) are the lifeblood of efficient Hospitals and Medical Offices. The Medical Doctor (MD) effectively offloads tasks according to the scope of practice of their PA’s and NP’s. This allows the MD to “practice at the top of their license” and optimize the utilization of their skills, while maximizing the effectiveness of their support staff.
Dental Hygienists are our partners. Understanding their scope of practice and learning how to work most effectively with them will maximize your efficiency, profits and improve the access to care your Office provides. We don’t have a Dentist shortage in America – we have a Dental utilization shortage!
Research demonstrates that “dental hygienists are a good investment” – higher production and higher net incomes are associated with Dental Offices that have Dental Hygienists as partners. Research also exists that supports the successful integration of Dental Hygienists into Medical Practices. However, to date, the American Dental Association (ADA) has not actively endorsed such revolution on a national level and expanded function Dental Assistants, expanded duties Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists remain limited to a very few states. In fact, ADA has actively discouraged some of these innovations. The ADA must re-think it’s cautious approach and embrace revolution. Therapists and Expanded Function Dental Hygienists are a disruptive innovation and must be encouraged and supported, not feared!