Daily ‘Safety Huddles”

Increasing Patient Safety and Staff Awareness

It is very important to create a “culture of safety” within all levels of the organization from the front line practitioners, to support staff, and all the way up the leadership ladder.  A “culture of safety” is an active process of daily assessing the status of safety of the patients in their experience of visiting the facility and receiving procedures, and also the staff’s awareness of current and possible events that may harm the patient, or the business.

Principles of  a ‘safety huddle”: frequent and regular schedule, inclusion of all levels of organization, preparation, open communication, specific and pertinent examples and cases, non-judgmental involvement, actionable steps, quantitative and qualitative parameters, beneficial and encouraging to staff.

A generic and lack luster safety huddle will be short lived and ineffective at reducing dangers and errors.

Rules of Effective “Safety Huddles”

  1. Come on time.
  2. Plan Ahead. Sign in sheet to track attendance metrics
  3. Prepare Early. Each team should have prepared prior to huddle to have specific and actionable steps ready
  4. Come Prepared. Each team member should know the daily focus and case, and be able to present it clearly and succinctly
  5. Stick to the Facts. Only reported specific prepared items, otherwise say “Nothing to report”
  6. Not a Discussion Forum. This is not a venue for discussion or problem-solving but reporting and acknowledging an event or near-event

Other useful steps to increase sustainability:


  • Executive support and visibility: CEO and senior administrative and medical staff leadership visibility at the daily huddle is the number one key to success.
  • uniform form of communication. All pertinant members must attend, no call-in. Monthly “Safety Huddle” Letter summarizing events and solutions
  • standardaized schedule; same time every day
  • reward and encourage effort and results, keep track of improvement

Creating a culture of safety can be sustainable and effective at reporting and communicating events, near-events, promote situational awareness of issues, decrease reporting times, decrease resolution times, and create corrections systemically, not just locally.

Source: Bassett Medical Center Safety Huddle One Year Impact Survey Feb 2016


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