January 2010 | dentalproductsreport.comWEB EXCLUSIVE
January 2010 | dentalproductsreport.com
Choreographing your day
Don't be a victim of chaos in your practice. Get the team together and get organized.
by Callie Haynes, Pride Institute Consultant
If some of your practice work days feel like a Flying Zucchini Circus or, at other times, as dry and barren as the Sahara desert, then maybe it's time for you to implement the Morning Huddle system. The purpose of an effective huddle is to ensure that you can provide seamless delivery of service to your patients, share important information about patients and processes and catch potential service or efficiency glitches before they happen. When the huddle is done effectively, it is a short and highly focused meeting that provides an overview and game plan for your day. No more circus!
Essential components of an effective huddle include:
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Important principles of an effective huddle include:
Get the picture?
By now, a certain picture should be developing: Effective huddles don't just happen. They require preparation and organization. Rather than hoping that the team will find some time before they're busy with patient care or at some time throughout the day, we recommend scheduling regular, dedicated administrative time-typically 30 minutes. This way, team members are not trying to prepare for the next day when they are busy with their current day. Dedicated time eliminates that pressure.
Timing is everything
Ideally, administrative time is at the same time every day-patients are not in the office, the phones are not answered, and if team members have finished their preparation they understand that they are expected to assist other team members. This way, the entire team finishes admin time at the same time.
Typical times for admin time are at the end of the day or right after lunch. Because the last appointment of the day is popular with patients, some team prefer to have the huddle right after lunch.
The only way admin time works is to not violate the time by using it to do things other than prepping for the next day. This means not extending treatment on patients and not using the time for emergency patients. This time should be pre-blocked in the schedule just like staff meetings and lunch. The whole team needs to make a commitment to preserving and honoring this time and using it for its intended purposes.
This focused admin time pays off by your next day being more predictable-predictable because it is organized! This creates a much calmer atmosphere and reduces stress for team members and patients. It enriches customer service because any potential glitches have been identified and fixed before they happen. Patients recognize a well-prepared team and appreciate the preparation behind the visit. The team is not flying by the seat of its collective pants.
Don't be afraid
Many employers have fears about losing production because of administrative time and huddles. Our statistics show that practices committed to this time enjoy increased production over time, increased collections (because accounts have been reviewed in advance and the front desk team is prepared to collect), increased patient satisfaction, and in the end-more referrals and happier, less stressed dentists and team members.
Try it and see for yourself!