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5.16.08 Issue #323 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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What Is a Morning Huddle?

“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” —Robert Frost

Sometimes called the daily meeting, the morning huddle is an opportunity for the dental team to examine the schedule of the day and make a plan for action. But because time is limited and every member of the team has something important to do to prepare for patients, the huddle is often overlooked or considered time-consuming. Studies of hundreds of offices by McKenzie Management’s consultants have determined that the daily meeting is crucial to the success of the practice by improving communication between team members and organizing the day for the benefit of practice profitability and customer service to the patient.

The morning huddle need not last more than 10 to 15 minutes and is scheduled prior to the arrival of the first patient. Everyone on the team is required to attend these meetings. Discussion of today’s schedule is the main focus, but reviewing yesterday’s schedule and looking at the schedule for the next two days to anticipate any problems are recommended. Other topics to cover could include: discussing where the clinical team would feel comfortable seeing an emergency patient, identifying patients that need to take care of financial concerns before they are seated, verifying treatment plans with treatment scheduled, finding unused insurance benefits and scheduling unscheduled patient family members.

The daily schedule and/or routing slips should be distributed to everyone at the meeting. If there are any personal issues with any patients coming in, such as a birthday or a new baby, it is important that everyone give those patients special attention. (However, please use discretion when discussing patient issues to comply with HIPAA privacy requirements.) Hygienists should review their charts for the day and comment on unscheduled treatment, where they would need help with taking x-rays and periodontal charting. Clinical assistants would review their charts to verify the schedule with the treatment plan and see that lab cases are being delivered on time and necessary supplies are ready for the day.

Guide to developing a Daily Meeting Agenda:

  1. Distribute today’s schedule and/or routing slip to all team members.
  2. Review today’s patients and procedures.
  3. Address the following issues:
    • Clinical Assistant: where to place emergency patients, proposed treatment for each patient, review lab cases due up to two days ahead and converted emergency patients from yesterday’s schedule
    • Hygienist: patients due for FMX & BWX, who will help with perio-charting and screening, family members past due for recall and new patient exams today
    • Financial Coordinator: past due accounts, unused insurance benefits, production, collection goals and patients who will be paying prior to seating today
    • Scheduling Coordinator: unscheduled time units, open-ended appointments and unscheduled treatment, and the number of new patient examinations
    • Yesterday’s Schedule: What was good? What needs to improve?
    • Schedule Two Days Out: Does it meet goal? What needs to be changed?
  4. The Dentist closes the meeting with a personal view of the day and a positive message.

Some of the benefits you will receive by committing to this organized daily regimen include:

  • better organization by planning the day instead of just letting it happen
  • knowing patient needs in advance and seeing that the supplies and lab cases are there
  • increased productivity by having the entire team aware of patients who have not scheduled and using the information to motivate patients to accept treatment
  • improved profitability by identifying unscheduled treatment and unscheduled patients
  • improved team morale by deciding who needs help throughout the day and assigning a person to assist
  • effective handling of emergencies because the clinical team is involved in selecting the best time
  • keeping the team informed of daily production goals and reinforcing that it is a team effort to meet them.

Committing a brief 10 to 15 minutes of your day to the “morning huddle” can benefit your team and patients, and can eliminate most of those surprises that bring chaos into a seemingly well-scheduled day.

Want to create more successful business systems for your practice? Call McKenzie Management today and sign up for our Front Office or Office Manager Training Program.

For more information about McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training courses, email, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our website at

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