Huddles

Huddles 

Learning Objective: To understand what a huddle is and learn how to implement huddles within your practice. 

 

What are huddles? 

A huddle is a short, stand-up meeting of no more than 10 minutes aimed at providing a forum for important daily concerns. Huddles are a fast and efficient way to identify crunch points throughout the day and deal with them before they arise.  

Why implement huddles?

Practices that use huddles have reported their staff feel more engaged, with greater teamwork and communication skills. The huddle also helps to increase awareness of important issues and encourage a culture of increased efficiency and planning within the practice. 

When should we huddle? 

Huddles generally take place at the start of each working day. It is best to huddle at a time that suits your practice and when attendance can be maximised, however it is important to acknowledge that not everyone will be able to attend every huddle. 

Who leads the huddle? 

The practice manager appoints a ‘huddle champion’ who will lead the huddles. This could be either an administrator, Nurse, or health care assistant. Alternatively, the huddle champion could rotate daily/weekly/monthly so that the experience of leading huddles is shared amongst staff. 

Who does what? 

Staff 

Role  

Receptionists/Administrators 

Engage and participate in daily huddle. 

Nurses 

Engage and participate in daily huddle. 

General Practitioners 

Engage and participate in daily huddle. 

Huddle Champion 

Prepare an agenda for the huddle daily. 

Adapt the agenda over time considering feedback from staff. 

Lead the huddle. 

Circulate the huddle minutes to all staff members. 

Management 

Provide a space for huddles to take place. 

Identify and support a ‘huddle champion’ who will lead the huddle. 

Encourage all team members to attend the huddle and enable this through protecting the time for huddles. 

WellSouth 

Support the practice to establish huddles. 

Provide further information on huddles. 

Discuss what should be included in the huddle template. 

Attend a huddle in the practice. 

 

What should we talk about in a Huddle? 

Huddles will develop over time and become specific to your practice. However, here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Availability/scheduling for the day 
  • Who is in the practice and what room they are working in 
  • Any patients that may need extra assistance/translator etc 
  • Opportunities to do pre-work with patients 
  • Targets e.g. portal targets/smoking cessation 
  • Any meetings/visitors/special arrangements for the day 
  • Team achievements for the week/month (including celebrations) 
  • Review patient discharges on GP Dashboard in HealthOne 

 
Implementation timeline 

Preparation:  

  • Appoint a huddle champion 
  • Find an appropriate space for the huddle 
  • Set an initial agenda and time for huddle to take place 
  • Book huddle time out of appointment book if required 
  • Engage staff 

Month 1: 

  • Test and refine agenda and huddle time 
  • Survey staff (end of Month 1) 

Month 2: 

  • Analyse staff feedback and implement any changes if necessary 

Month 3 onwards: 

  • Huddles become embedded into the General Practice daily routine 

 

How to measure success 

After the first month of huddles send a survey to staff to gather feedback. It is best to make this survey anonymous so that staff feel comfortable sharing their thoughts on huddles. 

 

Helpful Tips 

  • Have everyone stand at a huddle – this keeps the meeting short and focused 
  • The Huddle is most effective when the maximum number of available staff attend 
  • Tie the daily Huddle in with your visual whiteboard 
  • Consider if you can reduce the frequency of existing meetings 
  • If you are a large practice with lots of staff huddles could be coordinated in teams 
  • Although it may feel that Huddles are taking time out of the day, the evidence from practices shows that the organisation and teamwork developed in Huddles actually leads to issues being resolved quicker and easier throughout the day – thereby resulting in less stressed staff and more time 

 

Further Resources  

A Huddle Template can be found by clicking here.

A printable version of this document can be found by clicking here.

Rhonda Reid, Practice Manager at Gore Health, discusses the benefits of Huddles