Taking the Lead on Morning Huddles: Success from the Start

DATE: September 2020
AUTHOR:
Mandy Dennis, RDH

It's impossible to think success can come out of chaos. Morning huddles are the opportunity every day to set the stage for success by forming a plan. This creates an opportunity for the dental team to come together to have a successful and thought out day can create happiness and success for everyone on the team. As a dental hygienist, you can collaborate with your dentist, offer to help develop structured meetings and take the lead on morning huddles. Here we'll take a look at the morning huddle and what is involved.

What is a morning huddle?

It’s important to remember that the purpose of the morning huddle is to prepare for that day's patients. Better communication means better patient care. A morning huddle is a short time to come together to talk about the day’s plan. It is the kick start to a day! The goal is to discuss specific patient concerns, potential roadblocks, areas where same day treatment can be performed and how to work together. The huddle also provides a time for all employees to be engaged about the day’s events. Each department has the time to point out an area where they may need assistance or can provide additional help and suggestions to other co-workers.

Forming a huddle

It is not uncommon for offices to say “we used to have morning huddles.” Many times, offices stop having the huddle because it became a time for people to complain as opposed to a time to prepare. It was not time well used. By collaborating with your dentist, you can offer to take the lead on existing morning huddles. If you are part of a practice where a morning huddle isn't being held, you can bring it up with the doctor and offer to take the lead on this! Discuss with your doctors key points for huddles, and the benefits to the practice, the team and patients.

  • A morning huddle should not last for more than 10-15 minutes.

  • Use a template or an agenda to stay focused on that day and specific topics.

  • It should start and end with something positive.

  • Everyone should be involved! People should take turns leading the huddle to ensure all people are staying engaged as listeners and leaders.

Taking the lead on morning huddles doesn't mean you always need to lead the morning huddle itself, you can arrange the huddles overall, topics, agendas, lead some huddles and rotate the person leading others.

Stick to the Plan!

There are many templates and agendas that can assist your office in meeting specific topics. You can offer to help create a template for your office! Help new assistants or front desk team members know what to look for when looking throughout charts! Do not come to the huddle unprepared. You can create an agenda that addresses the specific parts of the day that are most important to the practice and work with your boss on finalizing it to make sure everything is covered. Make sure each area of the office is represented in the agenda. Having someone talk about those specific areas can break up the responsibilities of the agenda and help to ensure people feel important and vital to the huddle, as opposed to simply being an attendee. Examples could be:

What is the production goal for the month?

  • Breaking up the goal into a DAILY goal can many times feel more achievable. Helping the team know where they stand every day will help everyone do their part in helping to achieve the goal THAT DAY.

Are all of lab cases in the office and ready/confirmed?

  • Being unprepared for patients upon their arrival can create anger and frustration for all parties. Knowing all cases are in the office at the start of the day can help us be prepared for the rest of the day.

Which hygiene patients have treatment that still needs to be done?

  • This is a great contribution from dental hygienists! Knowing which patients have pending treatment can help us address those needs closer to the beginning of the appointment, giving an opportunity for same day treatment! We have to know where we start!

Are there any special attention patients?

  • Are there any patients with specific medical concerns, such as pre-medication? These are important things for us to know ahead of time, in case we need to call a prescription ahead of time or the patient needs to receive pre-medication upon arrival.

  • Every office has patients who require additional “care.” Knowing this in advance can alleviate frustration at the front desk and in the clinical area.

Which parts of the day appear to be busier than others?

  • We all tend to be more frustrated when things get off schedule and cause any of us to run late. Having a discussion as a team can help us identify specific parts of the day when we need to rely on each other a little more, to help with efficiency.

What does the doctor's schedule look like and is it possible to have same-day treatment, coming from the hygiene appointment?

  • It is important to know where patients can be added to the schedule. It doesn’t do us any good to encourage same-day treatment if it can’t be added to the schedule. Knowing where we can offer additional opportunities for the doctor will help everyone.

Keeping the information concise and on point will keep the time running smoothly!

Conclusion

We must work together to do all we can to reduce wait time, optimize care time and reduce dismissal time. We must communicate to help provide a better work environment! Knowing our schedule and how to navigate through the ins and outs of the day can help ensure we are doing everything we can do for ourselves and our patients, to have a great day! Having a morning huddle is a great way to prime your day for success from the start!