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The Daily Safety Huddle

Dec 30, 2019, 12:00 PM
Taking the pulse on quality, safety and the patient experience

34_SafetyHuddleHealthcare is an environment of continuous improvement. There is no end point or final achievement in any health system that completes this work in key areas such as safety, efficiency and quality. Process improvement is part of the daily routine, woven into the organization’s infrastructure as much as any service line or clinical task.

Process improvement and standardization efforts made way for an important daily touchpoint – the Daily Safety Huddle. This 15-minute stand-up meeting takes place in-person at both Skagit Regional Health hospitals. An additional call-in Daily Safety Huddle happens between clinics, since geography of having clinics in three counties prevents an in-person daily meeting.

“The Daily Safety Huddle is a central touchpoint for both clinical and non-clinical staff at the different locations,” said MJ Tyler, RN, MN, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Skagit Valley Hospital. “A diverse cross-section of employees meet every morning for 15 minutes to take a quick pulse of the facility. This is a daily opportunity to return to center, check-in and make sure we’re focused on all the right things to improve patient care.”

A typical Daily Safety Huddle includes representatives from each clinical care department, case management, engineering, technology services, laboratory, pharmacy, employee health and more. The meetings are brief, a quick opportunity to bring forward any issues that could delay patient care, impact safety or affect workflow. Huddles can include updates on an influx of flu patients or a check-in with Information Services about the Electronic Health Record system. The group regularly reports out on safety concerns or communication gaps and what can be done to prevent them in the future. 

The huddles are also an opportunity to bring forward any reoccurring challenges or process improvement needs. Since most departments are represented in the Daily Safety Huddle, employees can quickly identify the right partner(s) to work toward a solution. These sparks of cross-department collaboration often result in the quick resolution of a challenge that may have taken many steps to resolve in the past. The challenges are documented during the huddle and teams report back the next day, as needed.  

“The Daily Safety Huddle is a great example of ‘stopping the line’,” said Jonathan Lyons, Director of Strategy. “Participants have a safe venue to bring forward issues and concerns with the right people in the room, pull a group together and problem solve. This meeting plays a key role in keeping everyone, especially myself as a non-clinical department, with a finger on the pulse.” 

The Daily Safety Huddle has already led to a number of positive outcomes. A standardized reporting template was created to track the notes from each huddle and these quick meetings have resulted in the formation of several committees to address challenges brought up in that setting. Additionally, staff participation has grown significantly since the inception of the Daily Safety Huddle, adding to the voices contributing to removing barriers to great care.

“The beauty of this process really is the brevity of the meeting,” said Michelle Sand, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Cascade Valley Hospital. “Many of these barriers can be addressed simply by alerting a few people in the room. And this format inspires quick team formation to address larger challenges that need attention. We’ve already seen great outcomes from these 15 minute windows of focused time.”      

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Last post : 01/23/2020

The Daily Safety Huddle

Dec 30, 2019, 12:00 PM
Taking the pulse on quality, safety and the patient experience

34_SafetyHuddleHealthcare is an environment of continuous improvement. There is no end point or final achievement in any health system that completes this work in key areas such as safety, efficiency and quality. Process improvement is part of the daily routine, woven into the organization’s infrastructure as much as any service line or clinical task.

Process improvement and standardization efforts made way for an important daily touchpoint – the Daily Safety Huddle. This 15-minute stand-up meeting takes place in-person at both Skagit Regional Health hospitals. An additional call-in Daily Safety Huddle happens between clinics, since geography of having clinics in three counties prevents an in-person daily meeting.

“The Daily Safety Huddle is a central touchpoint for both clinical and non-clinical staff at the different locations,” said MJ Tyler, RN, MN, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Skagit Valley Hospital. “A diverse cross-section of employees meet every morning for 15 minutes to take a quick pulse of the facility. This is a daily opportunity to return to center, check-in and make sure we’re focused on all the right things to improve patient care.”

A typical Daily Safety Huddle includes representatives from each clinical care department, case management, engineering, technology services, laboratory, pharmacy, employee health and more. The meetings are brief, a quick opportunity to bring forward any issues that could delay patient care, impact safety or affect workflow. Huddles can include updates on an influx of flu patients or a check-in with Information Services about the Electronic Health Record system. The group regularly reports out on safety concerns or communication gaps and what can be done to prevent them in the future. 

The huddles are also an opportunity to bring forward any reoccurring challenges or process improvement needs. Since most departments are represented in the Daily Safety Huddle, employees can quickly identify the right partner(s) to work toward a solution. These sparks of cross-department collaboration often result in the quick resolution of a challenge that may have taken many steps to resolve in the past. The challenges are documented during the huddle and teams report back the next day, as needed.  

“The Daily Safety Huddle is a great example of ‘stopping the line’,” said Jonathan Lyons, Director of Strategy. “Participants have a safe venue to bring forward issues and concerns with the right people in the room, pull a group together and problem solve. This meeting plays a key role in keeping everyone, especially myself as a non-clinical department, with a finger on the pulse.” 

The Daily Safety Huddle has already led to a number of positive outcomes. A standardized reporting template was created to track the notes from each huddle and these quick meetings have resulted in the formation of several committees to address challenges brought up in that setting. Additionally, staff participation has grown significantly since the inception of the Daily Safety Huddle, adding to the voices contributing to removing barriers to great care.

“The beauty of this process really is the brevity of the meeting,” said Michelle Sand, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Cascade Valley Hospital. “Many of these barriers can be addressed simply by alerting a few people in the room. And this format inspires quick team formation to address larger challenges that need attention. We’ve already seen great outcomes from these 15 minute windows of focused time.”