Is a daily huddle part of your office routine? If not, it should be. Holding a daily huddle can take a dental practice from good to great. High-performing dental practices set goals and continually measure their progress toward those goals, according to research by the Levin Group Data Center—and a daily huddle can help you do just that.
If your daily huddle is just a time to review the day’s schedule, you’re not getting the most from. your morning meeting. Done right, a daily huddle can:
- Build team connection for a happier staff that supports each other
- Set your team’s focus for the day to achieve practice goals
- Share important information so you can provide a better patient experience
- Reduce employee stress and improve job satisfaction. (Did you know half of millennial employees have left a job as a result of mental health issues? Don’t let that happen to your team!)
How to make your daily huddle a success
Now that you know the benefits a daily huddle has to offer, how can you get the most from yours? Try the following steps to make your daily huddle the best it can be.
When should you hold a daily huddle?
The best time for a daily huddle is in the morning, before patients arrive. Keep your huddle short—five to 15 minutes, maximum. Most office managers recommend giving staff five to 10 minutes to arrive, settle in and set up for the day before holding the huddle. End the huddle 10 minutes before the first patient arrives.
Who should attend a daily huddle?
Ideally, you want every staff member to attend, including the doctors. If that’s not possible, have at least one representative from each area (i.e., one doctor, one hygienist, one front-desk staffer, etc.) attend and fill in the other members of their team afterward.
How should you hold a daily huddle?
Preparation is key to success, so have all the information you need for the huddle on hand before you begin. According to a survey by Henry Schein Practice Solutions, up to 40% of dental practice managers say gathering all the necessary information for an effective huddle takes too long. Lighthouse 360 eliminates that huddle hurdle by using smart recommendations to automatically create a daily Front Desk Task List that’s emailed to you every morning.
Every night, Lighthouse 360 automatically reviews each patient on the next day’s schedule and checks for more than 20 issues, including missing contact information, family members past due for recall, outdated patient health history and upcoming birthdays. The software also reviews the prior day’s Front Desk Task List and creates an Accountability Report recapping the day’s activity to summarize successes and areas that need more attention. This way, you can know that your staff is doing everything they can to prevent your patients from slipping through the cracks.
Use the Front Desk Task List to create a daily huddle agenda listing topics to discuss. This keeps you on track, informs everyone what to expect at the huddle, and documents what was discussed each day. To create a sense of ownership in your huddle, have different employees report on different areas.
Keep your huddle short and sweet by meeting standing up. The huddle is not a time for lengthy conversations; if issues arise that need deeper discussion, make a note to address them later.
What should you discuss in a daily huddle?
The Front Desk Task List is a good starting point; you can also discuss anything important to your practice. Consider holding a team meeting to review the huddle agenda template and get everyone’s input on what to include.
A huddle is partly informational, but also part pep talk. Think of yourself as a football coach leading a team huddle before the big game. Discuss challenges and opportunities of the day ahead, while keeping the overall tone positive and upbeat to energize the staff.
Common topics office managers address in the daily huddle include:
Review of the previous day. Did you meet production goals? What were the high and low points of the day? Celebrate successes while also addressing problems that arose and how to solve them.
Review of the upcoming day’s schedule, including:
- Scheduled production and goals
- Patients scheduled that day and any special needs, possible problems, or opportunities to provide additional treatments that day or in the future
- Availability in the schedule for restorations, emergencies and same-day treatments
- Any financial or payment issues
- Any cancellations and how to fill them. Lighthouse 360’s Fill-in feature can automatically detect cancellations and reach out to the patients most likely to want the spot.
- Any new patients. Have a plan for welcoming and introducing them.
Staff motivation: The psychological aspect of a daily huddle is important. Try starting or ending the meeting with a motivational quote. Ask team members to share something they’re grateful for, an accomplishment they’re proud of, or a challenge they are facing that day (such as a difficult patient) and how other team members can help support them. Call out team and individual successes and milestones for praise.
Long-term practice goals: At least once a week, review actual numbers compared to monthly goals. Do you need to schedule additional procedures to achieve your monthly goals? If so, pinpoint patients who are due for recall or have unscheduled treatments to target.
Marketing and patient communication goals: Remind the front desk team to ask that day’s new patients how they learned about the practice so you can see which marketing tactics are working. If new patients are coming in later in the week, schedule welcome calls or emails (Lighthouse 360 makes this easy to do). Also note which patients had treatments yesterday and need follow-up calls today.
Comparing financial and production goals to actual numbers can identify ways marketing and patient communications can be better used to achieve your goals. If you have a lot of no-shows, Lighthouse 360 can automate sending email, text or phone appointment confirmations and reminders to help keep your chairs full. If patients aren’t scheduling treatment right away, turn on Lighthouse 360’s automatic treatment reminders to help educate and persuade them.
Following up with patients while a recent visit is fresh in their minds helps your practice get more online reviews. Lighthouse 360 can automatically contact happy patients to request reviews and then post the reviews to Google, Facebook and healthcare-specific sites including Doctor.com, CareDash, WebMD, Healthgrades, Zocdoc, Dentalplans, RateMDs and Wellness.
Start your day off right with a daily huddle
End your daily huddle on a high note with a positive affirmation, fist bump, dance or staff cheer to get everyone excited about the day ahead. Holding a daily huddle is easy when you use Lighthouse 360’s Front Desk Task List and Accountability Report to help you prepare.