8.13.10 Issue #440 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Morning Meetings - Priceless
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

Many offices have a morning meeting every day. They go over the schedule, somebody reads the numbers they were told to get for the meeting, then everybody breaks and goes on about their day. Does this sound familiar - just going through the motions and not really looking at the schedule to prevent problems? This is the one time in the day the entire team is together and able to look at each patient, time scheduled, treatment needs, and special considerations such as money problems, physically or mentally handicapped patients, or past patient history - whether it is with your office, or information the front office has found out from the previous dentist.

The morning meeting can be the best thing that has ever happened to your office. Everybody should come to this meeting prepared to talk not only about the day you are about to start, but the day that you had yesterday. Why yesterday? Two reasons: To learn from your mistakes, and to go over what went right.

Going over what went wrong will help prevent the same mistakes from being made. This is not to point fingers at anybody or any one department, but to look at how it may have been handled better. This could be anything from the hygienist running late, which put her behind the rest of the day, to the doctor not having been scheduled enough time for a particular procedure. The hygienist could have asked the assistant to take the x-rays on the next hygiene patient. This way the patient would have never known that the hygienist was running late and the hygienist would have ran on time the rest of the day, instead of upsetting patients. There are patients that may decide to leave the practice if they always have to wait for their appointment.

When it comes to the doctor not having enough time for a specific procedure, this may have been a lack of communication at the time of scheduling between the front office and the back office. That is not what really matters at this time. The thing that matters is how to handle it if it should ever happen again. This is an instance where if the assistant gets the hygienist’s x-rays, then the hygienist can get the next patient numb for the doctor, and this may give the doctor the relief needed to make sure he/she stays on time the rest of the day. This is definitely an example of teamwork at its finest.

By going over what went right, the practice will continue to do what works. Depending on the size of your practice, there may have been some fantastic teamwork happening and some of the staff may not be aware of what happened or what was done when things ran smoothly. You want everybody doing the same thing when it works. It is a good idea to go over what went right after you go over what went wrong, in order to start the day off on a positive note.

When it comes to going over information for the current day, everybody should have a list of specific information prepared to review at the meeting. The hygienist should go over the charts the night before or come in early to be prepared for the morning meeting if another staff member is not willing to go through her/his charts. Here are a few things the hygienist should go over, based on office protocol and input from the doctor:

  • Who needs x-rays and what type
  • Exams
  • New health history
  • Special needs
  • Treatment pending
  • Any patients that may need to have the doctor come in and support what needs to be done

The assistants should go through the doctor’s charts the night before, and in addition to the above information they should look for who is overdue for hygiene or will be due soon and should get them scheduled while they are in the office. The front office will look at all the above while scheduling the appointment and will also mention anything that was discussed during the phone conversation. Of course this would also be noted in the computer.

The doctor needs to believe in the importance of the morning meeting, keep everybody on task, and be the great leader that the staff is looking for to start their day off. This is your time to talk openly about patients with your staff in order to provide the best quality care possible during the patient’s entire time with your office, which actually starts before they even walk in the front door.

If a staff member is unable to attend, they should leave any notes and information they wanted to share with other members on their behalf. There should be a person appointed to take notes for the person that is not there so they know what was shared. Being prepared for the morning meeting and actively participating makes it a win-win situation for everybody in the practice.

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1 day, In-Office Hygiene Performance Program.

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