Dental Office Morning Huddles Simplified
Dental office morning huddles are fabulous! This simple 10 minute huddle gives us focus. And a great morning huddle brings clarity to our day. But we must be sure to keep it simple. And remember what the purpose of the morning huddle is. The entire purpose of the morning huddle is to prepare the dental team for it’s day. That’s it!
Prepare for today’s patients! And we want everyone in attendance. So, let’s be sure all team members arrive on time. And that each team member has a copy of the day’s schedule. There is no need for any one person to lead the morning huddle. There is no necessary agenda or protocol. However, I do have a recommended format for you to consider.
Where To Meet
A treatment room or consultation area is best. The front office area is not the place to meet. But we do want a sign at the front desk to let patients know the team is in a short meeting. Here is an example of a sign you might consider:
“Welcome! We are preparing for the day and will be right with you. Please make yourself comfortable. Thank you.”
Choose a location for the morning huddle that allows you to hear the reception area. However, be sure to keep voices low. We never want to have patients overhear our conversations. And remember, the huddle is all about our patients. So, we will be talking about them! But in a very respectful and positive manner. We must speak about our patients as if they might overhear. Because they just might!
Dental Office Morning Huddles Format
Dental office morning huddles begin with a quick greeting. Say hello to each other and smile. It’s important to take a moment to check in on each other as we assemble. We want to be sure we are all okay and ready for the day. We want everyone’s undivided attention. Now is not the time to brush our hair, eat our breakfast, or put on makeup. It’s time to begin.
Each team member holds a schedule for the day. Or perhaps reads from a computer screen but may hold their own individual notes. I find it most helpful to print a schedule for the day and write on that schedule. I make notes of anything I want to mention during the morning huddle.
Hygienists Share First
Each dental hygienist will read through the patients on their individual schedules. And I suggest reading each patient’s name. Don’t skip anyone! That one patient you skip is the one you will miss something on. Briefly share what is on the schedule for this patient today. What else does the hygienist need to share?
- Patient’s name
- Unscheduled treatment
- Recent or upcoming medical treatment
- Any recent referrals to specialists
- Perio needs / recare plan
- When is patient due for fmx?
- Is patient due for exam?
What if your team has a hygiene coordinator? Some offices do! The hygiene coordinator can check on each patient’s family members. Is there a family member who is not pre-scheduled for hygiene? This is also something that a front office team member can look at. And be ready to share this with the team as well.
The Dentist’s Schedule
The schedule coordinator that manages this schedule reads each patient’s name. And follow that up with what each patient has scheduled for the day. It really is helpful to say these things. Even though it is on paper and in the computer in front of you. Saying out loud the names and procedures generates questions and considerations for team members.
Dental assistants and dentists will have input as well on each procedure. Are we waiting on a lab case? Is there any anticipated hiccup anywhere that we can already see? Is there a report the team needs from a specialist? Does a patient require any special consideration not noted? And don’t forget your new patients! Do you have everything you need for each new patient on your schedule? Be prepared with a brief run down on who referred your new patient and what their dental history or immediate needs might be too!
Dental Office Morning Huddles Look Ahead
Dental office morning huddles are a great place to mention open appointment times. Are there any open hygiene or restorative appointments today, tomorrow, or even the next day? This is something the dental team needs to know. Especially if there are open major block times for your doc! When the entire team is informed, everyone can work together to fill those times!
Save production goals and collection goals for weekly business meetings. Remember, the morning huddle is about patient care. And although the business of production and collection are important, now is not the time! If there must be a conversation about an individual patient’s account, this is not the time. Collection and account issues are private, sensitive matters. And must be handled as such.
When To Prepare
Simple morning huddles require little preparation. And the hygiene team may be able to prepare a little the day before or even the morning of each huddle. Not all dental hygienists work each day. I understand that. But allow the hygiene team a few minutes before the huddle to look through their schedules. A temporary hygienist or someone filling in may come to the huddle with more questions than information. And that’s okay too!
The schedule coordinators and front office team can do the same. I find it helpful to print up the next day’s schedule the day before. And to make a few pertinent notes before I leave the office for the day. But sometimes, an answering machine message changes everything in the morning. Perhaps someone needs emergent care or an appointment opens up. So, we prepare as much as we can. And know we may see change still.
You Have Options
Ultimately, your dental practice can do what it wants with the idea of a morning huddle. I have seen practices with no morning huddle and practices with very in-depth huddles. And everything in between too! My preference is to keep it simple! Allow the morning huddle to be a time of bonding for the dental team. And a time to focus solely on your patients and their needs. I think you will find your separation of business matters and patient care here one that truly benefits everyone.
I’m here for you! If you would like some help in creating a better morning huddle, and are not sure how to bring it all together, please let me know! Let’s get you on your way to a better dental office day!