Should one consider implementing daily huddles in one's healthcare practice, and how would one initiate this expectation?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Huddles are certainly an efficient way for a team environment to communicate effectively. They are especially useful because, when done correctly, they are shorter than a meeting and can be done throughout the day frequently. It can also be very easy to start implementing huddling as a part of your healthcare practice. Huddles can especially be particularly helpful on busy days when things don't quite run smoothly. A quick huddle can be used to report any issues that have come up, such as broken equipment, shortages in staff, and patient scheduling glitches, such as cancellations or a patient's need for an extended appointment.

The idea of huddling is very simple in that it is based off of the same principle that football players use--throughout the game, the team forms a huddle to get every player on track. Within the medical field, it is especially recommended that huddles take place at certain set time. Assigning a set time for a daily huddle will make it easier for the healthcare provider to implement the new huddle policy. More importantly, we want to keep huddles brief to make them easy to maintain; it's recommended that huddles be no longer than seven minutes, and shorter huddles are possible too. Plus, to make sure the huddle moves along as speedily as possible and that immediately afterwords every team player is ready to get in position, be sure that every team member remains standing during the whole huddle. The moment a team player sits is the moment that the huddle may turn into a much more relaxed, longer meeting than was intended. Remember that the purpose of the huddle is to make sure that everyone knows the important details of the day and how to participate. It is also important to make sure that a huddle takes place in a location that is easy for every team player to access, such as a the "hallway outside the nurse's station" ("Huddles: Improve Office Efficiency in Mere Minutes"). Plus, keep in mind that it won't be necessary for every staff member to participate in any given huddle. In some situations, it may be practical for doctors to attend, but in other situations it may be more practical for a medical assistant or registered nurse to only attend and report the information discussed in the huddle directly to the doctor. It's important to experiment with different huddle groups and see what actually works for that particular healthcare provider and what does not work. Finally, also be sure to assign a leader for the huddles, one who has a particular agenda for the huddle in mind.

Hence to begin implementing huddles in your own healthcare service, you simply need to pick the time, pick the place, figure out what needs to be discussed to ensure efficiency, and figure out who needs to attend the huddle.