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is a practice improvement initiative from the AMA designed to empower teams like yours to identify and attain appropriate goals and tactics well matched to your practice’s specific needs and environment. Wherever you find your team on the practice improvement continuum, the American Medical Association can help you take the next steps – the right steps – to improve your practice. Learn more
At Clinica Family Health, a federally qualified health center in Denver/Boulder metro area, huddles occur twice a day, in the morning and after lunch. The first twenty minutes of each clinic session are blocked off for huddles. Care teams at Clinica (called Pods) have found this a worthwhile time investment, allowing them to prepare for each patient's visit. Karen Funk, MD, MPP, Vice President of Clinical Services and a practicing family physician at Clinica, justifies the time used for huddles in this way: “When the team comes together to plan care on a regular basis, we become more high-functioning and efficient and accomplish so much more with our patients.” Clinica has a very low rate of no-shows due to advanced-access scheduling, ensuring that this preparation pays off.
Huddles take place in the pod workstation where the provider and MA are co-located and work together regularly. When huddles started 10 years ago, this teamlet would pull each chart and review relevant clinical issues together. Now, they have an EHR with embedded tools that prints a one-page visit-prep checklist for each patient. This care planner was developed by Clinica to flag guideline-concordant preventive and chronic disease care including immunizations, diagnostic and laboratory testing and referrals. The provider-MA teamlet reviews the care planner together so that arrangements can be made to address those issues proactively during the visit. Other pre-visit preparation or paperwork is done side-by-side during this time. Extended team members, including a nurse care manager, behaviorist and referral case manager, make rounds on each teamlet to discuss patients as well. For example, the care manager may flag a complex care patient who is arriving that day and ask the MA to find her when the provider is finished for a post-visit meeting. Likewise, the provider may ask the care manager to see an additional patient on her schedule that day who may benefit from her services.
(MS WORD, 52 KB)
Huddle time at Clinica is also used to reinforce data-driven quality-improvement efforts on a daily basis. Team members will gather at the data board regularly to review their pod-level performance data and discuss plans of attack for lagging indicators. This sends the message that the entire team is responsible for patient health and is another way that Clinica creates exceptional team culture and performance.
MS WORD, 52 KB
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