PennWell Dental Community
Start Your Day in an Organized Way
John H. Jameson, DDS
How many of your practices begin each day with no organized thought pattern about the patients you will see that day? One summer, we hosted a seminar featuring Dr. Burt Press. Dr Press presented his ideas on the "morning huddle". I had contemplated using a morning focus session for some time, but until I attended Dr. Press's seminar with my team, I had not installed this process as a daily plan of action. After the seminar, my team forced me to begin this process immediately because they could visualize the results for our practice.
Here's the process we utilize to make these morning focus sessions effective as well as productive:
1. Each morning we meet for ten minutes before the start of patient time. We have prepared copies of the daily schedule for everyone on the team. Notes are made on these schedules with pens and highlighters. Our business assistant who engineers the schedule helps us evaluate all the charts for the day. She reviews the treatment scheduled for the day for new patients and emergency patients. She alerts the team if we need to continue to educate and reinforce any necessary treatment. She also explains the flow that she anticipates for our day.
2. Each hygienist reviews the patients scheduled for her on the present day. She talks to the entire team about the treatment plan for each patient and updates the team members on the periodontal therapy for each upcoming patient. We, as a group, develop a plan of action to reinforce any incompleted restorative or reconstructive treatment that might exist for the day's hygiene patients.
3. The clinical assistant evaluates the doctor's patient charts to discuss any particular flow problems that might exist. If additional assistance is needed in room preparation for a particular procedure, the game plan is set so that the preparation and the providing and completion of each procedure moves smoothly from one patient to another. This prevents scrambling and disorganized flow and any lack of communication among the clinical team. As the assistants review the charts, they tell us which patients need treatment that has been left incomplete and which patients are past due for hygiene appointments.
4. The business assistant again completes the meeting by summarizing any particular concerns that need to be addressed regarding a patient. These might be management, finance, or personal concerns. Daily production figures are discussed. She relates this daily production to weekly and monthly goals.
5. I try to complete the meeting by offering my view of the day, and I reinforce each team person's value in making the day a smooth, enjoyable and productive one. We close on a positive note, focusing on the business at hand, which is taking care of the patients.
We have found these "jump start" sessions to be most helpful. Here are some of the benefits we have received by committing to this organized beginning of our day:
1. We feel more organized knowing ahead of time the particulars of each case.
2. Our productivity has increased using this process, because we are prepared ahead of time to use information shared during this "focus session" to reinforce the need for completion of necessary treatment.
3. We can prepare financial responsibility figures and estimated insurance coverages before the patient arrives to help schedule additional treatment.
4. We can be sure that our comprehensive care plan is well in order for each patient without breakdown due to the lack of in-office communication.
5. Daily production goals can be accurately evaluated with the whole team knowing what is happening and what is needed. If additional production time is available, additional treatment can be provided that dayif the patient understands and is comfortable with the financial responsibility.
6. Emergency patients can be smoothly placed into the schedule without disrupting the entire flow of the day.
I recommend this "top of the day" process for increased productivity and organization. It has given our office a great source of organization and security in what we are attempting to accomplish. Start your day in this energized way.
**Download our free "Daily Huddle" iPhone application now available on iTunes. Organize your Huddles with an agenda, timer, positive thought of the day and easy access to Jameson corporate offices.