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Huddles Initiative at CHAM: Team Gatherings Allow for Thoughtful and Swift Response to Daily Challenges

Huddles Initiative at CHAM: Team Gatherings Allow for Thoughtful and Swift Response to Daily Challenges Michael Rinke, MD, PhD is Medical Director for Pediatric Quality and a nationally known QI researcher. Dr. Rinke leads CHAM’s Performance Improvement group, which provides mentoring and coaching to our house staff residents, fellows and faculty. The group offers year-round education, training, research opportunities and operational resources for CHAM.

Among Dr. Rinke’s top priorities are the CHAM 2016 Quality Improvement initiatives. One of the key programs is to implement huddles throughout CHAM.

The use of daily huddles has been increasing in the healthcare field over the past few years. They bring staff together to keep them up to date on the activities of their work areas and enable them to raise and address issues as they occur, preventing larger problems from developing.

The goal is that by June 2016, all units at CHAM will have active huddles.

Huddles are currently in use in some areas of the hospital, including the NICU, PICU, med-surgery floors (CHAM 6, 8 and 9) and the general ambulatory clinics. These multidisciplinary huddles vary as to who attends, but generally include nurse managers, the charge nurse, a front desk representative and a physician.

Huddles occur first thing in the morning and typically take just 10-15 minutes. At that time, the team discusses patient issues and other developments that have occurred over the past 24 hours. Consequently, huddles allow for clinicians and other staff members to attain a collective understanding of the state of operations and to report and anticipate safety events such as falls, medication errors and delays in care.

“It’s really that duality of looking backwards and forward that provides the precaution that can help make sure that situations don’t escalate really quickly,” Dr. Rinke stresses. “In this way, we can anticipate and fix any problems right away.”

“Our objective is to synergize these huddles across the institution and make sure they are covering all the important things,” he adds. “Huddles happen at many different places, usually one of the hallways or a conference room. We will be implementing a standard checklist, but again, our goal is not to go in and tell people what to do. It’s very much a ground-up approach.”

Working alongside Dr. Rinke, Chhavi Katyal, MD, Medical Director at CHAM, and Anjali Modi, Quality Improvement Specialist for Pediatrics, are currently meeting with the leadership from each area in CHAM to determine what they are already doing during these local huddles and what help we can offer them to make the huddles better and more standardized.

Going forward, senior leadership, with representation from each local huddle, will hold a 10- to 15-minute standardized “Daily Safety &Operational Brief” phone call. This daily phone call will apply a multidisciplinary approach to creating open communication, increasing patient throughput and improving timeliness forsafety and operational issues across all CHAM areas.


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