Perspectives of Multidisciplinary Staff toward the Improvement of Communication and Patient Safety by Safety Huddles

Document Type: Original Article


1 International and Private Patients Service, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK.

2 Darzi fellow in Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK.

3 Imperial College London, UK.

4 Quality Improvement Team, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK.

5 Clinical Lead for SAFE project, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK.


Introduction: Evidence in the literature shows that healthcare utilizing deliberate discussion linking events (HUDDLEs) for patient safety could enhance inter-professional relationships through improved communication, thereby increasing the situational awareness of healthcare professionals. The present study aimed to assess the perspectives of frontline staff toward the impact of safety huddles on patient safety and explore further strategies to improve their delivery in order to enhance the situational awareness of patient safety.
Materials and Methods: Safety huddles were implemented in two inpatient wards at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), a tertiary children’s hospital in London, UK. A staff survey was conducted at two intervals (18 and 30 months) before the initiation of the huddles using a questionnaire to evaluate the perceptions of the staff toward the huddles. The questionnaire was devised and scored based on Likert scales and free-text responses.
Results:The healthcare staff believed that safety huddles played a critical role in highlighting the problems of patients and identifying clinical deterioration. Moreover, they could improve the communication within the healthcare team, reduce anxiety, and enhance team cohesiveness.
Conclusion: According to the results, safety huddles had an extremely positive influence on frontline staff. Therefore, they could be implemented in healthcare settings to increase situational awareness and improve teamwork and communication, thereby enhancing patient safety. Considering their positive impact, safety huddles were introduced to the other wards and specialties across GOSH as well. In addition, safety huddles were incorporated into the RCPCH S.A.F.E program as a key intervention to improve situational awareness.