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February 18, 2022

How huddles in healthcare can improve the patient experience

Huddles in healthcare facilitate teamwork while reducing medical errors. Learn more about other huddle applications in healthcare to improve patient outcomes.

Patient centricity remains a hot topic in life science. Putting patient needs at the heart of every process – from drug development and clinical trials to primary care and treatment – helps improve patient outcomes, increase patient safety, and create opportunities for life science organizations. In recent years, huddles have emerged as a key component of patient centricity – but how do they work, and what impact do they have on patient outcomes? In this article, we’ll explore how huddles in healthcare can improve the patient experience, and how technology can support huddles in an ever-changing life science landscape.

What is a huddle?

“A huddle is a short, stand-up meeting – 10 minutes or less – that is typically used once at the start of each workday in a clinical setting.”
Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Teamwork and communication between healthcare staff and departments are paramount in healthcare organizations. Effective communication minimizes hospital errors, increases efficiency, improves patient care, and fosters a safety culture built on trust and accountability.

Huddles are a quick, efficient way for teams to touch base and share important information. They’re taken standing to encourage brevity and efficiency, and every team member is given the opportunity to contribute. ‘Safety huddles’ or daily safety briefings are used in clinical settings to help team members focus on patient safety, and to increase accountability and collaboration. They’re a way for leadership to check in with staff members about any urgent safety concerns and ensure key processes are being followed. These quick internal syncs are intended to flag concerns and review performance. Daily safety huddles provide quick insight into any issues staff may have, without taking up too much of their time – proving particularly critical for frontline staff when there’s an influx of patients, or during an emergency department setting.

Medical congress huddles

Clinical settings are not the only areas where daily huddles have become invaluable to life science companies. Medical congresses are increasingly multichannel events, often taking place in unfamiliar or far-flung cities. Attendees often have hectic to-do lists – with numerous speaker sessions to attend, publications to prepare, and competitor activities to monitor. In this context, congress huddles provide a quick, efficient way for attendees to connect during an event, share their impressions from one-to-one interactions and speaker sessions, discuss trending topics, and plan next steps.

“Daily leadership huddles drive up event reporting and cut errors.”
Fierce Healthcare

The huddle format means they’re quick and flexible enough to fit in with busy event schedules, maximizing attendance and efficiency without negatively impacting other congress activities.

Improving the patient experience

“Huddles increase individual and collective accountability for patient safety, designate a fixed time during the workday or shift to focus on care coordination, facilitate immediate face-to-face clarification of issues, result in fewer interruptions during the rest of the workday, and foster a culture of empowerment and collaboration in healthcare teams.”
Patient Safety Network

Huddles have been shown to improve communication and accountability, reduce errors, and improve the standard of work – in both clinical and medical congress settings. In a clinical setting, the net result is often improved patient safety, per Fierce Healthcare:

“Since the facility implemented the huddles, safety event reporting increased 40% within the system’s 12 acute care facilities… and the number of safety events decreased.”
Fierce Healthcare

For life science teams at medical congresses, huddles mean greater access to more accurate, actionable insights. Through huddles, attendees can quickly and effectively disseminate congress learnings to the wider team, align on strategy and next steps, and gather feedback. Congress huddles help teams gain a more accurate picture of the trends and sentiments coming out of a medical conference from speakers, key opinion leaders, and HCPs, assess the market, and refine strategy for drug and product development. Ultimately, the knowledge gained through congress huddles helps life science companies empower effective decision-making, enhance efficiency and profitability, and improve patient outcomes.

Virtual huddles

Virtual huddles became increasingly common throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with digital tools helping life science teams determine how to run a successful virtual conference. But as the conference circuit re-opened and the risk of in-person interaction diminished, the virtual huddle persisted. By moving congress huddles to a virtual engagement platform, attendees can include team members who aren’t able to attend in person, and share key takeaways across the organization in real time. By including asynchronous elements, teams can access more information by capturing event observations in a single, convenient, virtual location, and share feedback in the moment while impressions are still fresh and clear.

Increasingly, life science teams are finding that virtual congress huddles provide the agility, flexibility, and organization-wide collaboration they need to maximize the value of their medical congress attendance. Find out more about how life science organizations are using virtual congress huddles to unlock new opportunities and improve the patient experience with the help of healthcare business intelligence applications and business intelligence for pharma teams.


Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Huddles,start%20of%20each%20major%20shift.
Fierce Healthcare. Daily leadership huddles drive up event reporting, cut errors.
Patient Safety Network. Improving Patient Safety and Team Communication through Daily Huddles

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