How Safety Huddles Enhance Care
A safety huddle in healthcare is a quick meeting involving relevant healthcare team members that aims to facilitate team communication and encourage a focus on proactive patient safety.
The overall goal of the safety huddle is to evaluate the previous day’s work to identify any safety concerns and to proactively identify safety issues for the current day. The meetings are meant for information sharing – not solving issues. Concerns discussed during huddles are elevated to the appropriate contact (such as a supervisor or patient safety committee) for resolution.
Huddles have been shown to improve patient and employee safety in a variety of areas such as:
- Wrong-site surgery
- Medication errors
- Hand hygiene
- Unidentified clinical deterioration
- Serious safety events
- Near misses
As the healthcare industry faces staffing shortages unlike ever before, safety huddles are critical to increasing awareness of prior, current and potential risks that affect patients. When new, temporary, and current staff work together, safety huddles empower teams to develop innovative strategies to reduce risks and track effectiveness.
There are countless benefits to safety huddles, when conducted effectively. Benefits of safety huddles include but are not limited to:
- Increasing individual and collective accountability for patient safety
- Designating a fixed time during the shift to focus on care coordination
- Facilitating immediate face-to-face clarification of issues, resulting in fewer interruptions during the remainder of the workday
- Foster a culture of collaboration among team members