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The art of the huddle

Ask someone what they associate with the word “huddle”, and nine times out of ten, they’ll say “football”. However, in the last few years, that has begun to change.

On my recent trip to Yale New Haven Health, when I received an invitation to the morning huddle, I wasn’t being asked to suit up for a friendly game. Rather, I was welcomed to participate in the daily patient safety report.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived the next morning at 8:00 a.m. As I sat there, senior leaders, nursing directors, middle managers and department chairs came in, with others joining by phone or video conference. For the next 20 minutes, the safety and quality issues of the previous 24 hours were reviewed. Updates were provided, decisions made and celebrations held. Yes, you read that right—celebrations. Whether the group acknowledged having caught a potential problem before it materialized or having solved an actual problem, each was mentioned and the teams were praised. Before I knew it, the meeting was over and people were filing out of the room, back to their work areas to tell their teams what had just been discussed.

You might ask, Is this type of huddle sustainable? The answer is, Yes. For over two years, Yale New Haven Health has used this model to provide clinicians at all levels with an opportunity to address problems quickly, face to face, and in an efficient and effective manner.

Having witnessed it first-hand, I can confirm that it’s a model that will be of benefit to our network and, more importantly, to our users. In partnership with our leadership team, I look forward to introducing huddles in the near future.

Hut, hut, hike!



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