WIHI: Sustaining and Strengthening Safety Huddles

Date: April 5, 2018


  • James L. Reinertsen, MD, The Reinertsen Group
  • Ronette Wiley, RN, BS, MHSA, CPPS, Executive Vice President, COO, Bassett Medical Center
  • Helen Mackie, MB, ChB, FRCP, Consultant Gastroenterologist, University Hairmyres Hospital, NHS Lanarkshire; National Clinical Advisor for "Realistic Medicine," Scottish Government

The safety huddle​ has become an important way for hospitals to surface safety concerns affecting patients and the workforce. The best huddles are multidisciplinary, highly structured, brief (15 minutes or less), take place early in the morning and focus on incidents from the day before and risks to safety in the day ahead. Is the safety huddle effective? Have organizations grown lax with the process over time?

Some participants have observed that, over time, safety huddles tend to become "just another meeting" or "another box to check off." Dr. James Reinertsen, who has spent decades coaching clinical leaders and staff about safety, says too many huddles allow department leads to report "no safety issues today." That's impossible, says Reinertsen. Every department has safety risks; it's a matter of being proactive and looking for them.

On this episode of WIHI, Sustaining and Strengthening the Safety Huddle, we discussed two strong examples of safety huddle programs at two different health systems: Ronette Wiley shared the story of the turnaround with the safety huddle​ and the tools they use​ at Bassett Medical Center in upstate New York, and Dr. Helen Mackie educated us about the safety huddle at Hairmyres Hospital in Scotland where issues are flagged daily in a rigorous process known as The Onion​


Average Content Rating
(1 user)
Please login to rate or comment on this content.
User Comments