Are your huddles productive and positive?

Many offices have huddles, some have tried huddles and found that they aren’t productive. Following a huddle format will help keep your days running smoothly.

You can have your huddle each morning before the patients start or have them midday or the day before – the timing doesn’t actually matter.  What does matter is that you want to ensure that your huddles are proactive in avoiding any problems before they happen, are productive in communication about patient care and the flow of the day as well as being a positive time for everyone to feel motivated?

To achieve these goals with huddle you may want to follow these guidelines:

  • Each team member is responsible for being prepared to participate in the huddle, a huddle should be a group collaborative
  • Business team members should come prepared to discuss patients with special requests (time constraints, anxious patients, or even patients who were kept waiting at last appt), patients with account concerns, any same day next day openings and any patients who aren’t yet confirmed
  • Dental Assistants should come prepared with patients that need a care call from the previous day, either by admin team or clinical team, patients who may have outstanding diagnosed treatment which may include “watches” or “observes” and confirm that all necessary lab cases are in the practice
  • Hygienists can come prepared with any patients that may require LA prior to treatment, patients who need a medical update, any patients with outstanding diagnosed treatment and any patients who are due for radiographs
  • Dentists can come prepared with any treatment which may require an alternate set up just in case treatment doesn’t go as planned, address which patients need a recall exam, ask any questions about outstanding lab work, share patient management knowledge and encourage the team by stating a positive win from the previous day. Stating the positive may be; a win with a difficult patient, providing an example of great office communication, or even a thank you for a smooth day. 

There should be rotating leaders of the meeting, either on specific days of the week or a different leader each week. The responsibility of the leader for the meeting is gathering everyone to the meeting so that it can start on time, mark any patient notes on a daysheet that will be displayed in a common area of the office and to keep everyone on topic and to the point. The responsibility of all of the attendee’s is to arrive on time and prepared with their information to present. 

At huddle time it is always easy to fall into social conversation as this may be the one time of the day that everyone is together so refrain from huddle time becoming social and consider it part of the workday. It will be up to the leader of huddle to keep everyone on track. You will also want to refrain from reviewing and discussing each and every patient in every column, if there is nothing to add about a specific patient from the points above then they don’t need to be discussed.

Huddle time should be used to avoid any problems from occurring and disrupting your day in advance. This would include lab cases that haven’t arrived yet, patients who aren’t booked for the appropriate lengths of time, putting heads together to fill open time slots with patients who are in with the Dr. and may need more hygiene, outstanding family members coming in at the same appointment time and general office problem solving.

Keeping your huddle time efficient will help lead to an effective meeting time that will benefit everyone’s day with clear communication.

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