Implementation of a Pre-Operative Huddle at a Level 1 Trauma Center




Rechter, Griffin
Scofield, Harrison
Webb, Brian


0000-0002-0218-5024 (Rechter, Griffin)

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Purpose: Medical errors resulting in patient harm occur frequently. Surgery is a high-risk specialty that requires standardization of communication and processes to decrease errors. We sought to determine whether the implementation of a pre-operative huddle could improve communication and decrease medical errors. Methods: A pre-operative huddle was developed and implemented at a level 1 trauma center. The hospital database was used to review data before and after the huddle implementation. We analyzed patient surveys and comments, percentage of on-time OR starts, OR turnover times, and number of sentinel events. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square testing for OR start time differences, and the Mann-Whitney U Test was used to compare turnover time and delayed starts. Results: After implementation, we observed a trend of improvement in patient survey results regarding patients' perception of overall understanding following the explanation of their procedure by the healthcare team, p< 0.001. There was an increase in on-time OR starts from 37% to 42%, p< 0.001. Notably, there was a statistically significant increase in OR turnover time from 38 minutes to 40 minutes. We also observed a decrease in the number of sentinel events. Conclusions: We found that implementing a pre-operative huddle at a large level 1 hospital improves patient safety, on-time OR starts, and communication amongst the healthcare team, without significantly disrupting OR workflow. Use of standardized communication processes may contribute to a decrease in medical errors and assist hospitals in becoming highly reliable organizations.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2021 SaferCare Texas, Excellence in Patient Safety Research Award - 2nd Place