Motivate your urology office staff with a quick 'morning huddle'

September 1, 2011

In most urology practices, patients will spend more time with the office staff than with the physician. Therefore, it is essential that the staff is highly motivated to ensure that patients' interaction with the staff remains at a high level from the moment they walk into the reception area and check in at the desk until they make their next appointment and check out.

Key Points

Huddle better prepares staff, physician

For example, if a patient is returning to discuss a biopsy report, be absolutely certain that the pathology report is on the chart and is reviewed by the doctor before entering the room. Nothing is more discouraging to a patient than having to wait for the report to come from the pathologist or the hospital. Patients who have had a biopsy are anxious about the findings, and a delay of even a few minutes can add to their anxiety. Just as patients have been preparing for several days for the visit, it is reasonable to expect the practice to take the same care in preparing to review a report, even a simple blood test such as a PSA.

Another example is anticipating the special needs of a patient with limited mobility. Having a wheelchair ready before the patient arrives sends a powerful and caring message. You also can make certain that a room that accommodates a wheelchair is available for the patient and that he isn't kept waiting in the reception area while a room is made available for him.

If a man is scheduled for a vasectomy, the morning huddle is a time to check that instruments, medications, and a plan for achieving a comfortable room temperature are in place for the procedure. You don't want to have to send someone out to obtain more lidocaine, clips, or smelling salts in the middle of the procedure.

We have also used this time to alert the staff about any VIPs who will be coming to the practice and to be extra vigilant for their needs and wants. Also, this time can be used to alert the staff to any visitors that may be coming so they may be properly welcomed and escorted into the office or lounge area.

Finally, the staff is notified about any last-minute developments that could impact the daily schedule; for example, the need for a doctor to leave for a lunch-time meeting, a lecture, or a short case in the operating room. If the staff is knowledgeable about the time that the doctor has to leave, they will work hard to have patients in the room and ready to be seen in a timely fashion.