A team huddle is typically a short, informal meeting or gathering of employees where team members can briefly review and discuss issues, updates and follow up actions.

This routine has become very common in many workplaces and across different professions. Hospitals are no exception, as team huddles have been proven to be a great way for staffs to kickstart their day and improve productivity.

Benefits of a team huddle

One of the benefits of a team huddle is that it helps to develop situational awareness, or a collective understanding about the state of operations. This is because it allows every team member to be on the same page and have any potential issues to be brought up and discussed for that particular day.

When members of the team gather on a regular basis to plan and communicate the team’s expectations, assignments and roles, it does not only enhance interaction between team members, but also creates a sense of empowerment. As a result, the medical team would function more effectively and would be able to accomplish more.

Implementing the team huddle

Timing, involvement and location

Unlike a meeting, team huddle does not have to consume a lot of time; it typically lasts no more than 10 minutes and is usually done on a daily basis. Involvement and participation for a team huddle can vary. A huddle can include leaders from each department within the hospital, a group of clinical team members, or an all-staff huddle to discuss matters such as staffing issues, upcoming events or other important policy updates.

There should also be an employee in charge of leading the huddle, although this role can always be rotated to encourage participation from everyone. Furthermore, a team huddle does not necessarily have to be held in a meeting room. Since a huddle is very brief and informal, it is okay for participants to stand during the huddle.

Flow

Although a huddle is less structured than a formal meeting, having a checklist or agenda for the huddle would be greatly useful to keep the discussion concise and focused.

For a clinical team, a huddle can be used as a platform to discuss patient issues. These can include discussions about patients coming in, patients discharged from the hospital, high risk patients or those with high service needs as well as other issues such as scheduling and documentation.

It would be good to begin the huddle with team members briefly sharing positive notes about achievements or positive results before moving on to sharing updates and discussing operational issues for the day.

Continuous improvement

Team leaders should strive to make a continuous improvement by inviting team members to give feedback on the huddle. Members can provide valuable input by giving suggestions on how huddles can be made more useful and beneficial, or suggest new agendas that should be brought up during a huddle, for instance.

Engagement is one of the keys to a successful huddle, and team leaders should find ways to encourage each member to actively contribute during the session.

Establishing a regular team huddle helps to create a collaborative working environment that can motivate employees to work together towards a common goal. It empowers team members, promotes accountability and mindfulness, as well as allows everyone to recognise and appreciate each other’s roles in providing quality care to patients. MIMS

Read more:
4 major types of operational waste that hospital employees must eliminate
4 things about a hospital's culture that can make or break employees
Budget-friendly team-bonding for healthcare professionals

Sources:
https://hbr.org/2014/12/how-every-hospital-should-start-the-day
https://cepc.ucsf.edu/healthy-huddles
http://www.safetynetmedicalhome.org/sites/default/files/CHA-Teams-Guide.pdf