by Jim Philhower
What is the number one thing you can do to increase production, efficiency, and communication in the dental office? Have an effective morning huddle! A morning huddle sets the tone and pace for the day and provides an opportunity to uncover potential production that otherwise might have been missed. Unfortunately, less than 10% of dental offices have a good morning huddle - a powerful tool that takes very little time and costs almost nothing.
Once you establish an agenda and routine, the morning huddle should take no more than 15 minutes. To keep everyone focused and involved, team members should take turns running the huddle. Before turning the meeting over to the day's leader, the doctor should begin the huddle with a positive comment about the team member's performance or personal achievement. The huddle is not a time for complaints, policy and procedure discussions, or debates. Save those topics, as well as any constructive criticism, for the weekly or biweekly team meetings. Limit your morning huddle agenda to information pertaining to yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Every huddle should begin with the question, "Did we meet our production goal yesterday?" Next, the team should discuss the highlights from the previous day, covering what went right, as well as what went wrong. The discussion of what went right and what went wrong should be brief; add any items that need further discussion to the agenda for the next team meeting. Review yesterday's case acceptance rate as a team, and set a goal to increase that rate today. Did the team meet the collection goal yesterday? If not, why? End the discussion of yesterday with a review of the follow-up phone calls made to patients, noting any updates of which the rest of the team should be aware.
Start the discussion of the current day's schedule with the question, "Are we scheduled to meet our production goal?" If not, the team should discuss opportunities to add production to the schedule with same-day treatments. If any patients are scheduled who have been under watch for restorative work, for example, the team should review openings in the doctor's schedule to determine whether those patients might be able to stay longer or come back later in the day for the doctor to begin the restorative work. Identify patients who are candidates for scaling and root planing (SRP) treatment, if home care has not improved their periodontal health. Just four additional quadrants of SRP per week could add $50,000 to your annual production.
The next topic for today's huddle should be radiography and hygiene. Are all scheduled patients up-to-date with the doctor's standard of care in these areas? One missed pan or FMX per day can equate to $25,000 in annual lost revenue for the average practice. When reviewing patients' hygiene history, check their family hygiene history, as well.
Spend time discussing the new patients on the schedule today. Who are they? Who referred them? What does the team know about them, including where they work or live? Ideally, you should be able to find at least three unique "touches" to create a special welcome to your practice. For example: "Ms. Smith, I see you are friends with the Jones family, and they referred you here. Bill and Mary are delightful! We will be sure to thank them. How long have you been friends?" A new patient with a positive experience is likely to tell others about the practice.
The last topic for today's huddle is referrals. Use the morning huddle to identify at least two patients to ask for referrals. The team member who has the most rapport with each patient should be responsible for requesting the referral from that patient. For example: "Jen, we talked about you in our meeting this morning, and we just love seeing you in the practice. If you have any friends or family members who are as nice as you are, we would enjoy welcoming them as patients, as well!"
Finish your morning huddle with a discussion about what the team needs to do in order to prepare for the next day. Is the office scheduled to meet the production goal? Are there openings in the schedule that need to be filled? Have the lab cases arrived yet? Have all of the patients who will be coming in confirmed their appointments? Do any of the patients on tomorrow's schedule have special needs? This part of the morning huddle is also the time to review any new patients on the schedule for tomorrow.
Running a successful morning huddle is one of the easiest and least expensive things a dental office can do to increase profitability and efficiency every day. Use these suggestions to create your own morning huddle agenda, and remember to start with yesterday.
Jim Philhower, a 28-year veteran of the dental industry, is the director of North America Dental Sales Leadership and Development for Henry Schein Dental. Jim teaches dental teams throughout the world techniques to help them reach their practice goals. Contact him at (800) 372-4346 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at www.HenryScheinBusinessSolutions.com.