Daily Planning Meeting… Wasted Time or Wasted Opportunity?

By admin-tmfd on 16 June 16 Practice Management

All professional sports teams want to win on game day. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.”  Winning doesn’t happen by chance, so teams who have a desire to win must prepare extensively. Before they take to the field, a final meeting takes place in the locker room to clarify roles, objectives and the overall goal.  Does your team prepare before they take to the field?  Does your team know the game plan for the day?  Every day is game day in your dental practice–­you and your team owe it to the fans–your patients, to be prepared to win.

Granted, a huddle that is not structured properly will not produce the results you and your teams want to achieve.  If the information you discuss at a daily planning meeting has no positive impact on your day, then you’re discussing the insignificant things and wasting time.  The right things to discuss are different depending on the type of practice and the desired outcomes from the meeting.

How many times does a patient come into your office and leave your office after seeing only one person? This is probably highly unlikely.  Usually, patients are welcomed, treated and dismissed by any number of team members.  The entire team will contribute to the success or failure, of this patient’s appointment and overall customer experience.  Getting the ball across the line–the patient to leave with a good impression, requires a team effort.  Anyone on your team can drop the ball by not being where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. The result is a failed attempt at an outstanding or memorable customer experience.

An effective daily planning meeting is focused on transferring clinical and personnel patient preferences to all clinicians and business personnel. With input from your team, identify the information to share aimed at improving patient management and supporting a high standard of care.  Some questions to consider when discussing patient care:

  • Who will need my support and when?
  • What do I need to know about this patient to provide outstanding service?
  • Does the patient have specific preferences?

One of the most effective ways your team will know the answers to these questions is by carefully reviewing each patient’s chart before the meeting.  You’ll need to look for more than just who will need an exam, radiographs or local anaesthetic, but if you’re new to huddles, this is a good reference point. Decide where emergency patients will go and when. Also, look at chart entries, radiographs, intra oral pictures, outstanding treatment, predeterminations and personal preferences.  As a team, determine the important things to know about every patient.  Once you have decided, write them down and give everyone a copy. The information you’ll want to receive from your administrative team will be different than what you’ll want from the dentist, assistant, hygienist or business personnel.  How you use this information will dictate how smoothly the day goes.

In my experience, morning planning meetings work best. However, if this does not work in your practice, find a suitable time. Dedicate 15 minutes to the daily meeting, and commit to starting on time with everyone present and prepared. A portion of the huddle should be dedicated to a brief discussion about the previous day’s positive or negative outcomes.  Praise the positives. Learn from the negatives.  As the owner, let the team know how they are doing.  The daily meetings will be beneficial to meeting practice goals.  In some offices, the daily meetings include a discussion of daily or monthly goals. Again the goals are specific to each dental practice; for example, a practice goal may be increasing new patients through patient referrals or improving patient education about services offered in the office. It is imperative for team members to be able to see the finish line.

Once the entire team knows their respective roles and tasks for the day as determined in the discussion during the daily planning meetings, the chances of organized chaos will be minimized.  You will not be able to foresee any fumbles, but these will be an exception.

Confucius once said, “Success depends upon previous preparation.” Your daily planning meetings will become a part of the day that no one will want to miss as they are part of your preparation.  If you’re prepared to commit to these daily planning meetings get prepared to celebrate the wins!

Dean Hrenar, RDH is a Practice Management Coach with Tucci Management Consultants. As a Registered Dental Hygienist, Dean brings over 20 years of dental experience and insight to clients and their team members.

Contact Dean Hrenar at 416-629-6457 or by email at



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