New blog post from Dr Jillian Denovan

The Power of team Huddles to improve safety culture in Primary Care
Dr Jillian Denovan, a GP based in Plymouth, completed our Patient Safety Officer Programme in 2016. She tells us how she has established team Huddles at the Pathfields Medical Practice, part of a group of four primary care practices.
“We recently carried out a SCORE survey at the practice – which was a really useful exercise. We were introduced to the survey by the South West AHSN and it’s a totally anonymous survey which measures an organisation’s safety culture. The survey was really easy to complete and we found it really useful. The results showed us that there was an opportunity to improve teamworking within the practice, so we looked into a variety of options to help support this. We decided on implementing team “Huddles”, which are team-based meetings aimed at providing a forum for highlighting operational and patient safety concerns. Huddles are used widely in the pre-operative hospital setting, and have shown to have a vast improvement in team communication, patient safety and staff satisfaction in primary care. Most importantly, a team with greater cohesiveness produce better clinical outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.
Using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Model for Improvement, we designed a huddle template form and information spread sheet (pictured). We set up a pilot to test Huddles over a six week period and concurrently tested five minute Huddles starting every day at 8:15am at each of our four primary care practices. To reduce hierarchy within the team, Huddles were led by a variety of practice staff, not limited to managers or doctors. The Huddles took their lead from the template, which covers important operational information including; staffing issues, patient requirements and team dynamics.  We monitored a total of four study outcomes in the six week period following Huddle introduction.
The results of our pilot were really interesting and positive!  Huddles were undertaken by all of the practices on 69.7% of working days, and concerns were raised in 76% of Huddle meetings. The upshot is that Huddles were well received by staff within our organisation, with 83% of staff perceiving that the introduction of Huddles has improved teamwork dynamics within our practices, which is fantastic news!  I feel that Huddles have really improved the operational fluency and team-work dynamics within our practices and am so pleased we introduced them. We have submitted our Huddles work to the RCGP’s Bright Ideas webpage – and If you want to find out more about the Huddles, or download  a template – please click here http://www.rcgp.org.uk/clinical-and-research/bright-ideas.aspx
If you are interested in using safety huddles and the SCORE survey in the South West, please feel free to contact Joanna Pendray for more details: Joanna.pendray@swahsn.com

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