The Daily Huddle—Possibly The Most Important Part Of Your Day

Take 15-20 minutes to meet with your team and set your day off on the right foot.

A morning meeting or daily huddle can be one of the most important parts of your day. It’s the best time to communicate with the team about the upcoming day and can set your morning off on the right foot. I recommend that the morning meeting be done about 15-20 minutes before the first patient is scheduled to arrive. All team members should be present for this meeting.

Preparing for the Meeting

In order to prepare for the morning meeting, have each hygienist and assistant review her patients the day before, and be ready to present patient information during the meeting (more on this below).

Choose an area for your morning meeting that is out of patient earshot. If there isn’t a computer monitor in the area where your meeting will be held, you can make copies of the Appointment Book schedule for the team to refer to (from the Appointment Book go to File > Print Appointment Book View).

Additionally, you can print Patient Route Slips or Patient Visit Forms for each patient (from the Appointment Book go to File > Print Patient Route Slip or Print Patient Visit Form). The Patient Route Slip and Patient Visit Form have valuable information for the staff to refer to including account balance information and medical conditions.

During the Meeting

Have each of your hygienists quickly review their patients. Things to mention during the review can include:

  • Special events in the patient’s life such as births, deaths, and marriages
  • Referral information (For example, “This new patient was referred by her co-worker, Jane Doe”)
  • Any medical conditions for the team to be aware of such as a blood thinners or pre-medication requirements
  • Outstanding treatment, both restorative and periodontal

Next, have the assistants discuss the doctor’s patients. Things to discuss would include the same items mentioned above for hygiene patients, as well as:

  • The need for additional assistance to prepare a treatment room for a procedure
  • Clarification with the doctor on how to handle particular procedures to ensure they run smoothly
  • Plan for possible traffic flow problems, for example, if the doctor is double booked, which patient should be brought back first?

This type of preparation prevents scrambling and disorganized traffic flow.

After you have reviewed the day’s patients, have the doctor and assistants decide which times during the day would be the best place to schedule an emergency appointment. Try to choose two times, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Discussing this at the beginning of the day ensures that the emergency appointments are scheduled in the best place for the doctor without disrupting already scheduled patients’ appointments.

Once the clinical team has discussed the day’s patients, the financial coordinator should be given time to mention any patients for whom there might be financial or insurance concerns. For example, “Mrs. Jones no longer has dental insurance, so I would like to speak to her before she is seen for her appointment to find out if she has new insurance or if she will be paying out of pocket for today’s visit”.

Finally, discuss your production and collection goals for yesterday and today. What was yesterday’s ending production? What is scheduled for today? How is the scheduled production in relation to our monthly goals? An easy way to find this information is by using the Daily Huddle Report in the Dentrix Office Manager (from the Office Manager go to Analysis > Practice Advisor > Daily Huddle Report).

Here are a few of the benefits of taking the time to meet with your team each morning:

  • The entire team will be more organized by knowing the particulars of each patient’s case in advance
  • You can improve profitability by discussing financial and insurance issues prior to the patient’s appointment
  • You can achieve more accurate daily production goals because the team is well informed
  • More effective handling of emergencies because they are integrated into the schedule without disrupting the workflow of previously scheduled patients
  • An overall smoother running day, which creates a more pleasant working environment

If you don’t currently do a morning meeting in your office, I highly recommend trying it. The improved communication within the team can have amazing results!

Learn More

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By Charlotte Skaggs
Certified Dentrix Trainer and The Dentrix Office Manager columnist

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for over 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at