Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post published by permission of its author.
Many offices struggle to make morning huddles more productive. How can we strike the right balance between meetings that have the necessary exchange of information yet do not drag on and waste everyone’s time? I have been to morning huddles that are a time spent waiting for all team members (yes, this includes you doctors) to arrive, getting a cup of coffee and discussing the weekend. If this sounds like your morning huddle, then why hold the meeting at all? Save the time and save the hassle.
When properly organized, morning huddles can be a great way to start the work day. Here are four ways you can make them great…as opposed to just a coffee session.
- Everyone must be in the office, in uniform and ready to start the work day when the huddle starts. The morning huddle is a short 10 minute gathering attended by all staff and all doctors. Ideally, I would like to see the doctor arrive first and pass out coffee to the staff members as they arrive! But I will settle for the doctor at least being there on time and ready to participate. This is not a time for having breakfast and putting on your lipstick. The work day has begun, and we are focusing on quality patient care.
- Keep it short. An efficient huddle can be held in 10 minutes. Starting the huddle 15 minutes prior to the first appointment will allow the 10 minute huddle to be finished 5 minutes before the first patient’s appointment. The clinical team and TC can be set up and calling their patient at their appointment time. If we start on time, we’ll have a better chance of staying on time for the rest of the day!
- Have an agenda. Develop a huddle agenda that caters to your practice goals and challenges. If emergencies are a struggle, focusing on where to put them in a full schedule and which clinician will see them can be addressed. If running behind schedule is an area for improvement for your office, look for bottlenecks and openings in the schedule to help.
- The doctor should not lead the huddle. I suggest that you have one person conduct the meeting to keep the meeting on track. This can rotate between team members (daily or weekly) to give them an opportunity. A representative from each area of the office will give the report for that area. By having your team members talk briefly about their areas you’ll help each team member take ownership of their position. Everyone at the meeting is supplied with a print-out of the daily schedule.
This is a list of suggested information that should be given at the morning huddle:
- How is everyone today?
- Are there any staff concerns today? (People out sick, etc.)
- Are there any special circumstances today? (Doctor’s luncheons, etc.)
- What rotation are we seeing patients?
- What weeks are not available?
- What appointments are available this week? (Banding, removals, etc.)
- Today’s emergency slots
- Report on yesterday’s exams
- Today’s exams
- Any financial concerns?
- Contracts that need to be signed
- Patients beyond ECD
- Bottlenecks in the schedule
- Are all lab deliveries in place for today’s appointments?
The best offices look into the future and handle the problems today that can potentially develop into bigger problems tomorrow and beyond. This is accomplished by each employee taking ownership for their area. A good place to start is in your morning huddle. “Huddle up, team!”
Andrea Cook’s in-office, hands-on training motivates and energizes orthodontic clinical teams. She bases training systems on practical knowledge gained through 20 years chairside experience. She works as a clinical consultant and trainer for premier orthodontic offices across the country. Learn more at AndreaCookConsulting.com