The Daily Huddle app


Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Daily Huddle app
Dr Nimesh Patel, creator of The Daily Huddle app. Photography: adam taylor

The Daily Huddle app is charting a new path in dental practice management. Its creator Dr Nimesh Patel explains it all started with a common dilemma—how to run your business more effectively. By John Burfitt

As he tells of the development of his digital application, The Daily Huddle, Sydney dentist Dr Nimesh Patel recounts two episodes, in particular, that had the biggest impact on his goals when creating the dental-specific practice management software app.

One episode was during the earliest days of his Timeless Smiles Dental practice in Sydney 10 years ago when he was confronted with the reality of running his own business and the challenges of learning how to effectively manage a team and a practice.

The other was the common sight—both in his own practice as well as at others he visited—of front reception desk computers covered in a kaleidoscope of sticky notes as reminders of the many tasks the team needed to fulfil.

“I recall those early days of starting my own business as well as that image of a mess of sticky notes, and thinking there had to be a better way to be doing what we do in our dental practices,” Dr Patel says.

Indian-born Dr Patel studied at the Government Dental College at Saurashtra University in Jamnagar and graduated in 2002. He arrived in Australia in 2004, completed additional studies at the University of Wollongong and started practising in 2005. He opened Timeless Smiles in 2011. 

“One of my strengths is ideation and that I do not see the world in the same way other people do,” he admits. “So whenever I think I can do something in a better way, I go exploring. It’s been a long road from those first ideas to when I launched The Daily Huddle app mid-last year.”

Not that the daily huddle concept is new in the world of business. The concept usually refers to a daily 10 to 15-minute meeting among staff, to check in on any issues of the day, solve matters that need resolving from the day before, and plan for the days ahead. It usually also prioritises goal setting.

One of my strengths is ideation and that I do not see the world in the same way other people do. So whenever I think I can do something in a better way, I go exploring. It’s been a long road from those first ideas to when I launched The Daily Huddle app mid last year.

Dr Nimesh Patel, creator, The Daily Huddle app

It was a concept Dr Patel was introduced to during a course in 2011 with training consultancy company Prime Practice. He was so taken with what a daily huddle could achieve, he adapted the process to suit his own practice.

“I went to Officeworks and started with a simple diary and began designing the pages so that my team and I would know what we had to focus on, who we had to follow up on and how to best streamline our days so we could keep everything under control,” he recalls. 

The process underwent continued strategic refining, so that his daily huddle diary planners became more specific. “It also became far more interesting, as well as usable, if we made it more dental niche,” Dr Patel says. “That was when my team and I designed a full-page model that made it even easier to work with.”

Dr Patel introduced the leather-bound full diary The Daily Huddlebook planner at the Dental Education Centre in Sydney in 2020 so other dentists could utilise the system he had designed. Throughout COVID lockdowns, he continued to refine the offering and introduced new versions in 2021 and 2022.

It was at the 2021 ADX conference that other dentists offered feedback on ways The Daily Huddlebooks could be streamlined into an even more effective model. That was when discussions about a digital version began.

“I had so many comments about practices going paperless and other comments about people working remotely but still needing to be across everything happening in a practice,” Dr Patel says. “So many people were encouraging of the concept but said what they really wanted was a digital version. That was when I realised I still had more work to do.”

It took 12 months of software development until The Daily Huddle app was finally released in July 2022. The app now connects members of a dental practice through a digital platform, with all key tasks, meetings, patient developments and events within the business. It has the tools of a practice management platform but includes a range of resources specifically for dentists. Features include shared checklists between the clinicians and the team, allowing everyone involved to be across all daily responsibilities. The system also features resource folders, a team training platform, key holiday dates, patient contacts, and sections for lab work and reports. There are also resources that target practice performance and daily statistics, covering such areas as new clients, referrals and cancellations as well as social media activity, monthly targets and KPI results.

The moment I began exploring this concept in the digital space, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. In some ways, it no longer looked like The Daily Huddle as I originally knew it anymore.

Dr Nimesh Patel, creator, The Daily Huddle app

“The moment I began exploring this concept in the digital space, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities,” Dr Patel says. “In some ways, it no longer looked like The Daily Huddle as I originally knew it anymore. Instead, it became much more broadly team management software, which has been designed to make our job easier and so we are more effective in the way we deal with team and practice operations.”

Every day at Timeless Smiles commences with the team working through the various agenda points on The Daily Huddle app. “Then we are all set for what is ahead,” he says. “This has made staying on track easier than ever. Improving communication between the team has always been the focus, and I feel we’ve streamlined that.

“There are many other software systems available, but none of the ones I looked into had a niche specially designed for dentists, with the work of dental staff in mind and the dental concept of what we actually do at its core,” he says. “That’s what I think makes this really effective.”

The best feedback Dr Patel has received about the effectiveness of the new app pertains to the function that highlights lab work and marketing reminders. “That seems to have really struck a chord, as we all know sometimes scans and reports can be difficult to remember or might be forgotten with the changeover staff,” he says. “To see those kinds of key reminders are so important on a daily basis.”

Not that his tinkering with the Daily Huddle app is complete. Dr Patel says he’s very receptive to suggestions in recent feedback he’s received for adding new functions as well as where he can streamline what’s already on offer. “There’s always room for improvement but one of the biggest challenges with it is educating dentists about the real value of the daily huddle concept and the difference this app really can make to the way a clinic does business.

“I’ve long said that in our dental schools, we learn about how to be good practitioners but we learn so little about what it is to be in business and how to be good at that. I think as dentists we must embrace that constant approach to education so we know about all the resources available to support us in doing the job. And we’re in an age when there’s always room for more innovation to improve things.”

One benefit of using his app to manage his business is that it has given Dr Patel more time to get out and enjoy his Harley Davidson motorbike on the country roads around Sydney.

“When someone asks me where I find my release from work, I always reply it’s going for a ride with my mates,” he says. “I was one of the first dentists in our group to get a Harley, and now I have a number of mates who are also dentists and have bought one. So we’re going to call our riding group ‘The Fang Gang’!” 

The Daily Huddle is currently available for a 90-day free trial, and then billed at $34.99 per month or a flat annual fee of $399.

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