The perfect morning huddle

DSO News' Practice Success Editor Elicia Gibson has spent a lot of time facilitating morning huddles, as well as observing them as a District Manager of 17 offices of an Elite DSO. She shares with readers the best practices she has learned through the years.

I began my career chairside as a Dental Assistant and eventually worked my way up the corporate ladder of an Elite DSO before moving to lab sales and then founding Dental Allies. Through that time, I was an Office Manager, managed a transition/sale and also served as a District Manager for 17 offices. I have had the pleasure of witnessing how differently and effectively Office Managers organize their morning huddles.

This article on the daily morning huddle is going to focus on the best practices I have witnessed over the years.

The daily morning huddle is key to great performance. It sets the team on the right path, assists in overcoming obstacles, and is integral in determining the next move. The morning huddle sets the tone to deliver higher quality care. In short, the morning huddle is one of the most important events in a dental office. A good morning huddle reviews the previous day and current schedule, identifies potential hiccups, and determines courses of action for the unexpected.

Key … the doctor(s) and hygienists(s) must be present for the morning huddle. The doctor is the leader in the practice and thus can set the tone for the entire day. A positive attitude and a can-do work ethic are essential to a successful morning huddle. Everyone must participate and issues must be resolved before the day can begin. The entire process should not take any longer than fifteen minutes.

First, you should be checking your lab cases two days prior to the scheduled follow-up appointment. If the case is not back, contact the lab for case status. Reschedule the follow-up appointment if necessary to avoid inconvenience to the patient, and fill their chair with another production generating patient. You do not want to discover that the case is not there when the patient is in the chair. Remember … THE PATIENT IS #1.

It is best to confirm insurance verifications two days prior. Contact patients that are not covered and explain their options. Reschedule the appointment if necessary and let the team know in the morning huddle the day before that there are gaps in the schedule needing patients.

Print a copy of the daily schedule for each member of the team so that they can fold it up, stick it in their pocket and readily have it available to them.

One mistake to avoid is to have a single person that talks during the morning huddle. It is a collaborative effort and everyone should be willing and eager to participate.

Morning Huddle Agenda

  • Rate and review the previous dayOne way to address the previous day is to ask “what went right?” and “what could we have done better?”
  • Discuss the details of today’s schedule.
    • Administrative
    • What are the changes in today’s schedule?
    • What new patients are on the schedule and what are the details about these patients?
    • Is there any pertinent and/or personal information regarding any patients on today’s schedule (e.g., upcoming marriages, birthdays, illnesses, celebrations, etc.)?
    • When is our next available production block? This helps identify patients on the schedule who need dentistry when unexpected changes happen in the schedule.
  • Clinical
    • Where on the schedule do we want to put emergencies?
    • Have all lab cases for today been checked in?
    • Are there any problem areas anticipated on today’s schedule?
    • Are any patients overdue for hygiene?
    • Are any photos needed on any patients?
  • Hygiene
    • Any patients on today’s schedule with undone dentistry?
    • Any other family members due for hygiene?
    • Any patients diagnosed with perio SRP not scheduled?
  • Marketing
    • Referrals asked for
    • Missed opportunities
    • Reviews received on website and review sites
    • Referral sources on today’s schedule
  • Numbers
    • Where are we for the month? The formula is “production for month + amount scheduled for the rest of the month = total anticipated for the month compared to goal.” What percent are we at for the month? Hint: if you start your month with more than 50% already scheduled on the books, you are on track to make goal.
    • Any collection concerns for today’s patients?
    • Financial arrangements that need to be finalized for today
  • Leadership Statement
    • The doctor should give a leadership statement at the end of the morning huddle except for one day during the week where a different team member gives the leadership statement. This team member would also facilitate the morning huddle each day during the week. This should be rotated once a week amongst the team and creates buy-in and builds leadership skills amongst your entire team.

Passion for your patient, passion for your people, and passion for your profession.

Without passion for your patient and passion for your people, you have no profession.

Elicia Gibson is the Practice Success Editor of DSO News. She is also the Founder and Senior Managing Partner of Dental Allies, Inc. Dental Allies helps practices and dental businesses scale. They accomplish this by focusing their clients on culture, growth, automation and operational improvement. They are partnered with the processing affiliate of a bank to provide the lowest payment processing rates in dental. They’ll introduce you. They are big on making meaningful introductions. Dental Allies delivers results that are real, impactful and meaningful. Elicia began her dental career as a Dental Assistant, holding multiple positions, including office manager, before being promoted to a transition manager and finally a district manager responsible for 17 offices. She was the first business development person at DDS Lab and spent close to a decade in lab sales to national accounts.