Successful Day? Disastrous Day? Having a Morning Huddle Matters
“Morning huddles,” two words we have heard so often. Every lecture, dental book, and even dental consultants or coaches, prioritize morning huddles. It’s even mentioned on the AADOM educational resources in the module “Dental Assistant to Practice Administration.” The instructor, Tija Hunter, CDA, spoke about morning huddles and the importance of having one. I should’ve taken her advice when I started early in my career because I was very hesitant. I would hear it and ask myself, “Why should we implement it in our practice?” I didn’t understand or see the value in having one. Fast forward to today, and I realize how valuable those morning meetings are.
Morning huddles are the difference between your day being successful or disastrous. We all know that in the dental industry, there is no perfect day. It would be great if patients were on time and kept their appointments or payed-in-full with cash. But we all know it doesn’t happen that way. Morning huddles are the most effective meeting to review the schedule with your dental team and develop strategies for those hiccups. This is where all team members can bounce ideas off each other to make the day smoother.
What does a morning huddle look like? It should be 10-15 minutes long, but not more than that. Our practice first looks at hygiene and then the dentist’s schedule. My dentist and her assistant go over her schedule and the procedures. Also, we look to see if we can help the hygienist’s schedule. Lastly, we look at the rest of the week, where slots need to be filled so that we can give the first available appointment time. Morning huddles are where we take the opportunity to see if we hit our daily production goals for that day of the week.
Another thing that we do in our morning huddles is find out what is next for the patient and if we can do any “same day” dentistry. What opportunities in the schedule would allow my dentists to do those procedures that day? It’s essential now since most of our patients work from home and rarely come to Manhattan. We value the trip they make to see us. We go over if there are any changes in the schedule, or we have time blocks where we can see emergency patients as well.
Patient reviews are also covered in the morning huddles. Patient reviews are important to our practice, so we use this meeting to see which patients we can ask. The office manager and owner dentist usually set a goal for how many reviews they want. Whatever that goal is, you can use the morning huddles to determine how many patients you will ask that day. This way, each team member is prepared and knows who to ask.
Referrals are also part of the morning huddles conversation. Remember, dental practices also need new patients, and referrals are the best way for that. We need to ask our existing patients for referrals, so each team member determines who they will ask that day. They will be focused on asking since it was mentioned in the morning huddle.
Morning huddles can differ from practice to practice, as every dental practice is different. It should be what works best for your team to be successful. You can also change them from time to time, and they should be revisited once in a while to make sure they remain effective. Have a morning huddle if you want the best chance for a successful day!
About the Author
Eileen Gonzales, FAADOM, is the office manager at Ever Care Dental in New York City. She essentially grew up in dentistry, as her mother was a dentist. Eileen assisted chairside for her mom and eventually moved into practice management. She holds a degree in Business Management (with a minor in Economics) from St. Peter’s University. Eileen has been an AADOM member since 2018. She earned her AADOM Fellowship (FAADOM) in 2020 and has completed the requirements for her AADOM Mastership (MAADOM) Designation. Eileen will be inducted into the 2023 class of MAADOM in September.