Ten Minutes to a More Productive Dental Practice

Productive Dental Practice Morning Huddle

Want a day where you meet your goals, feel a sense of pride in your work, and leave relaxed and on time?  Who doesn’t?  So, how often does it happen in your dental practice?  Once a week?  Once a month?  Never?  There is one way, without a doubt, you can make this happen more frequently and consistently.  It is the use of an organized Morning Huddle.  Yes, that notorious Morning Huddle that so many dentists feel are unnecessary, so they don’t take them seriously or even do them at all.

With just ten minutes EVERYDAY a systematic, team-based Morning Huddle provides everyone with the crucial information necessary for a smooth, productive day.  It guarantees that everyone is on-time, on the same page, and is armed with critical information about that day’s patients.  This is the key to every high performing dental team.

Eleven Questions to a Highly Effective Morning Huddle

The morning huddle is a team activity, not just one person talking at the rest of the group. You need everyone on your team to be part of it and engaged to ensure success. Eleven questions, at least, need to be answered each morning.  Assign team members to specific questions, and it is their job to show up, on time, with the answers. Once systemized, it can all be done in ten minutes or less.

  1. Is the treatment information (tooth #, surfaces, service codes, time, etc.) shown on the schedule correct and inclusive?
    Responsibility: ASSISTANT, HYGIENIST
  1. Who are the new patients and what do you know about them?  (So everyone can greet them and introduce themselves, and make them feel particularly welcome.)
    Responsibility: SCHEDULING TEAM MEMBER
  1. Are we treating anyone who has an overdue account? (So you don’t get over zealous and do a crown on a patient who hasn’t paid their $75.00 bill in a year, and everyone can encourage them to pay.)
    Responsibility: FINANCIAL AND INSURANCE TEAM MEMBER
  1. Are we treating anyone with allergies to latex, lidocaine, or premedication needs? (So no one gets sick, and we don’t get sued, and the trays are set-up accordingly. So everyone is prepared.)
    Responsibility: HYGIENISTS AND ASSISTANTS
  1. Are we scheduled to goal? (How can we meet goal today? Are we all following our Scheduling Systems)
    Responsibility: SCHEDULING TEAM MEMBER
  1. Is there a no-show possibility?  Who?  Why do you think that?  How can we prevent it? (Call now and double confirm.  Have a substitute in mind.  Ask the team for ideas.)
    Responsibility: SCHEDULING TEAM MEMBERS
  1. Who doesn’t have their next preventive appointment scheduled? (We all need to emphasize, encourage, and work together to get them scheduled.)
    Responsibility: HYGIENE AND ASSISTANTS
  1. Who has outstanding treatment and what is it?  (What do we need to reinforce, encourage, discuss further?)
    Responsibility: HYGIENE AND ASSISTANTS
  1. Who does not need an exam in the hygiene department?  (Everyone needs to prepare for that event.)
    Responsibility: HYGIENE
  1. Where to schedule call-in emergencies and comfort calls? (Don’t stick them anywhere or everywhere! Don’t scream at the scheduler; we need to tell her where to schedule them.)
    Responsibility: DOCTOR
  1. Has the schedule changed?  How?  What is your plan for repairing it?  (Ask the team for suggestions about patients who could fill it, for team members who could help fill it, or extend treatment on another patient to fill it.)
    Responsibility: SCHEDULING TEAM MEMBER

Your team members should spend five minutes each evening before leaving for the day obtaining these answers, so they show up the next morning prepared. Involving the dental team in this manner helps them understand how their jobs contribute to the greater success of the practice. It engages them from the first minute of the day and holds them accountable.

When done right, the morning huddle provides answers to the important questions that help assure a smooth running, rewarding, and productive day. Just ten minutes….I promise! 

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