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Dental Practice Success Starts with the Morning Huddle

Does every day in your practice start with a morning huddle? If it doesn’t, it should. If it does, here’s how you can make better use of that time. Successful morning huddles start on time, cover all pertinent information for the day ahead, provide and reaffirm goals, and most important, motivate you and your team. Take your morning huddle, and consequently your practice, to the next level.
Robert Pick, D.D.S., M.S., FACD, FICD
PUBLISHED: Monday, March 13, 2017
Each day at your practice must begin with a morning huddle. The morning huddle sets the tone for the day and informs all team members about production and collection goals, as well as potential problem areas in the schedule. Moreover, the morning huddle motivates you and your team. I guarantee that you will see performance improve because of it.
 
First and foremost, the huddle must always start on time. Every team member must be present. No excuses! All charts — especially the schedule, and the Pick Huddle Sheet — must be on hand. Every team member must have a copy of the schedule and the huddle sheet. These should be prepared the night before.
 
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During the huddle, a designated team member will review the doctor’s schedule with the doctor, who knows how much time each patient and procedure requires. The entire team reviews each patient’s treatment plan, avoiding confusion chairside. 
 
Hygienists must review their charts prior to the huddle to determine who needs bitewings or a full-mouth series. Missed radiograph and treatment opportunities are missed revenue opportunities. The doctor is made aware of pending radiographs so he or she can re-explain any necessary treatment or direct patients as needed during the hygiene check.
 
The second document covered during the huddle is the aforementioned Pick Huddle Sheet. The office manager or scheduling coordinator must ensure that the form is completed and handed to the doctor and team at the start of the meeting. This form allows everyone to see where the office stands in terms of total production for the day and the month, the projection for the next month, and relative to last year’s numbers. Also, the production is broken down per clinical provider for not only the day but for the month to date. It further shows collections and new patients for the month. Most importantly, the Pick Huddle Sheet also lets you know how much you must produce and collect daily to meet your goals.
 
And what are those goals, by the way? You should review them with your team each morning during the huddle. Each month, a different employee takes a turn reading the goals and provides the group with a motivational quote. These goals and their affirmation become a part of your office’s culture. This is also a good moment to review the practice’s mission vision and culture statement. Everyone on your team must know them cold.
 
But there must be some levity, too. In my practice, each Monday Wednesday, I hold a drawing for the staff. A random team member will receive an envelope that includes a gift card and a motivational note. After the raffle, it’s time to kick things off. Think of a sports team before a big game. All staff members put their hands in, and an appointed staff member gives an NFL-caliber shout-out. It may seem silly, but the enthusiasm will carry you through the day.
 
For you, the doctor (and the team as well), the morning huddle does this one critical thing: It subconsciously and consciously motivates you to do better. If you know you are behind on your revenue goals, you will spend that extra 10 minutes with a difficult patient who needs a restoration on the lower right first molar.
 
There is a lot more to all the above, but these basics are enough to get you going. For these practices to be effective, they must become part of your daily ritual. They must become an automatic habit. If done correctly, they will be one of the many business practices that will elevate your practice above the rest. 
 
Dr. Robert Pick is a full-time practitioner in Aurora, Illinois, and the CEO of his own consulting firm, The Pick Group. He can be reached at (773) 402-8933. If you would like a copy of the Pick Huddle Sheet mentioned in this article, please email diana@progressiveperio.com

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