The Power Of A Morning Huddle

An effective and productive morning huddle is an important function to ensure that the day runs smoothly and efficiently. It seems that the dental world is very torn on this necessary function. If the huddle is productive with minimal personal social discussion, then any payment for the team for this time is worthwhile, you will reap the rewards through the day.

A huddle helps to improve communication between team members which will enhance the patient experience. By discussing the schedule for the day team members will be aware of what to expect and can better prepare to handle any challenges that may arise. Patient concerns can be addressed, lab cases can be confirmed, and every team member will be on the same page instead of information being relayed via “broken telephone” or not at all.

A huddle will also improve the efficiency of the day in the office. By reviewing the schedule, the team can identify any potential roadblocks or scheduling conflicts and take action to prevent them. This is also a time when the team may be able to brainstorm to fill any last-minute openings in the schedule.

A huddle promotes teamwork, by bringing the entire team together to discuss the day ahead and will also help foster a sense of comradery. This will help improve morale and work towards creating aa positive work culture.

Each team member has a function for the team huddle. The admin team will address any financial concerns for patients, any timing concerns (a patient who was left waiting last appointment or a patient who needs to be out by a specific time) and any schedule openings that they need support in filling. The assistants will address the team with any patients that have outstanding diagnosed treatment, and the dentist will address any set ups that may need alternate options. The hygienists will address any patients that have outstanding diagnosed treatment and any patients who require x-rays.

If you have chosen your software well, there may be a huddle prep feature worked into your software to make chart auditing for huddle much easier. This feature will allow you to prep the information for the huddle, otherwise you will need to be auditing patient by patient to prep for huddle. If you do have this feature, ensure that you use it! Whether you have huddle with some or all the team members, ensure that you communicate everything that is discussed either in patient notes or on a centrally located day sheet.

The huddle should be finished with a positive thought or words of encouragement about the day ahead or the previous day. It might be something as simple as “yesterday was tough but thank you everyone for lightening the load” or it could be “looks like we are well prepared for a great day.”  The huddle can be used for public praise if a team member has gone out of their way on a specific day but shouldn’t be used for a time to criticize the team. Criticism for the team should always be delivered in private, the huddle is a time to bring the team together.

In offices where there are concerns with childcare timing or team members starting at different times an option is always to have a huddle midday, the day before, for example reviewing Wednesday’s patients on Tuesday right after lunch. If you see the value in having productive huddles, then you will find the time to have them and spending the ten minutes of the day will make it more productive.

By making huddles a regular part of your office’s routine, you can help create a successful, cohesive team that delivers high-quality patient care each and every day.

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