Georgia Hospital Uses High Reliability Organization (HRO) Principles to Redesign Daily Safety Huddles

July 9, 2024
for Hospital/Pharmacy/Home Health Staff

Southeast Georgia Health System (SGHS), a 300-bed hospital in Brunswick, Georgia, began a journey in 2022 with new leadership to improve transparency in reporting quality and patient safety outcomes. The senior team identified gaps between the current practice of their leadership huddle (an information sharing, and general announcement meeting implemented in 2018) and high reliability organization (HRO) principles. The current state of having leaders stand around a room and call out “no report” was not an ideal model for communicating safety issues and concerns.

Based on research by the patient safety team, the Tier 2 Safety Huddle (T2SH) was established to focus specifically on safety, including a dedicated conference room capable of virtual access and the chief medical officer (CMO) facilitating daily huddles. To monitor and track issues, a shared computer drive and folder were created for all leaders to access, and a tracking spreadsheet was used to follow up on unresolved issues. Education and training were provided, as well as “how to” guides to assist staff in engaging in the new process and reporting patient safety events.

In January 2024, a pilot program of department-based Governance Councils was launched, consisting of eight clinical and non-clinical departments. Their first assignment was implementing a Tier 1 Safety Huddle (T1SH), which provides leaders with a current state overview from frontline team members regarding patient safety risk issues. It would occur routinely and before the T2SH.

Tiered Patient Safety Huddle model used at Southeast Georgia Health System

GA Hospital Uses HRO SS image

Overall wins included clinical leaders being more comfortable speaking up, frontline team members having the opportunity to participate in Tier 2 Safety Huddles, the CMO and risk manager stopped prompting leaders and the reporting of safety events.

For more information on the principles of a high reliability organization (HRO) and the tracking spreadsheets and dashboard used by SGHS, see the June 25, 2024, Learning and Action Network (LAN) webinar for slides and recording.