300 seconds to safety

Innovation huddle: 300 seconds to safety

By Allison Wilson


UF Physicians’ Clinical Quality Department launched Innovation Huddle last fall. These five-minute huddles are designed to improve communication and, ultimately, patient safety./Photo by Jesse S. Jones

In the time it took you to floss your teeth this morning, Tawana Brown and her staff at the University of Florida Shands Eastside Community Practice made important steps to improve patient safety.

They did this by discussing potential challenges they might face during the day. Were any nurses out? How about any supply or equipment issues or scheduling conflicts? Proactively communicating these issues, and solving them before they became problems, set the practice staff up for a successful day. And it only took five minutes.

Brown, ACU manager of the UF Shands Eastside Community Practice, and her staff personify the success of Innovation Huddle, a program launched last fall by UF Physicians’ Clinical Quality Department. Through this program, the Quality team offers guidelines and guidance in coordinating structured, five-minute huddles with practice management, providers, clerical staff and nurses. The goals are to improve communication, ensure patient flow through the clinics is maintained and, ultimately, improve patient safety.

Quality representatives have been piloting the program in a handful of outpatient practices. They provide checklists and visit the practice to offer logistical support and help staff keep the huddles brief. In 2012, they will work closely with UFP practice management teams to launch the program in additional practices weekly.