Top sales people know that the most important step in the sales process is the planning stage, the work that goes on before the sales call. Whether the first phone call or the actual in person meeting, the sales person will gather information and decide the best way to approach the prospect. The “Hill Street Blues” TV show, although fictional, opened with the roll call scene in every episode. Led by the duty sergeant, roll call was the time to review significant crimes from the previous shifts, things for the officers to focus attention on, and announcements. Airline pilots file a flight plan, and military commanders brief the troops before an offensive action. Wal-mart made the morning meeting a ritual in its stores, complete with a cheer.
So are these practices applicable to physicians and physician practices?
Yes, and a study published in the Journal of the
Some 56 surgical staff members—including assistants, technicians, nurses and anesthetists—designed one- to eight-minute briefings in which each team member discussed specific roles in the procedures and concerns about the patient. The briefings are different from checklists, which review the accuracy of medications, patient conditions, supplies and other components of the surgical process. Instead, the briefings helped to mitigate surgical disruptions, such as equipment and resource issues and miscommunication events, the researchers said
Some practices have a morning meeting for the staff as well. In practice settings, staff have to work together and there is a tight relationship between the action (or inaction) of one staff member and another. A patient encounter will have several different staff members working with the patient, from reception to the medical assistants to the lab and testing to checkout, scheduling and the business office. The morning meeting is a review of the day to come – any significant issues (vacations and sick days leaving an area short), a particularly challenging patient or one who needs some extra attention, and so on.
Five minutes – even one minute – that go a long way to a better day. And a better procedure.