Is your hospital in a huddle – if it is, its a good thing! @Improve_Academy

Yorkshire Huddles

In a nutshell:  The Improvement Academy is supporting frontline teams to integrate multi professional safety huddles into their routine clinical care as part of a systematic approach to reducing harm. Team huddles, led by senior clinicians, involve all levels of trained and untrained staff and provide important space for discussion of patient safety issues. 

The Challenge

In the UK over the past decade a range of local, national and international patient safety initiatives designed to improve patient safety, with a few notable exceptions, have failed to demonstrate a convincing impact on patient harm. We believe that this is in part because the work has not, so far, tackled patient safety culture and behaviours in frontline teams.

What are we doing about it?

We are supporting frontline teams to develop, test and integrate safety huddles into their daily ward routines including measurement of impacts on patient safety and their team safety culture.

There is no top-down imposing of priorities, standards or performance management targets. These features ensure that patient safety huddles become an integral part to the delivery of safe care.

What are the principles of an effective huddle?

Patient safety huddles are clinically led and locally owned.  Key content for discussions are tested and adapted by the team to fit their local context. Examples include which patients most are most at risk from falls and pressure ulcers. Huddles are:

  • Clinically led by the most senior clinician
  • Involve the multi-professional team of all levels including support staff such as ward clerks, housekeepers and domestics
  • Happen every day at an allocated time in a timely efficient manner
  • Are brief (5-15 minutes)
  • Focus on safety issues “what might stop us keeping our patients safe?”

Some of the teams who have successfully embedded huddles into their ward routine have significantly reduced harm, such as falls, and have improved their scores in team safety culture surveys.

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