Lean Healthcare Team HuddleAs I was at my daughter’s hockey game this past weekend, I was watching the coach (my husband) make changes with the team between periods. The role of a coach is to motivate, hold players accountable, and make adjustments during the game to achieve a goal.  It was then that I realized how similar a sports coach and a supervisor or coach of a Lean Healthcare team are, and how both work to attain common goals.

Whether it be reaching the 90th percentile on your patient satisfaction scores or winning a state championship, every coach must be able to make adjustments leading up to and during the game. The scoreboard at a sporting event and your scorecard on a department’s visual Lean Healthcare Team Huddlemanagement board are instrumental tools designed to help achieve common goals. Both are indicators of your performance at that moment in time.   At the start of a game, the coach may tell players the position he or she will be playing, who will be playing, what to expect from the opposing team, and take a moment to see if there are any questions.  In between periods, the coach brings the team together to review what happened during that period, discuss what the players need to do to adjust to what they learned from that period, and again confirm that all players know what is expected of them.  After the game, the coach meets the team in the locker room to discuss what worked well, what they need to work on at practice to improve their game, and give positive feedback to keep the team motivated.

In a Lean Healthcare setting, a visual management board with daily huddles can do the same thing.  It may not be possible to bring your team together several times throughout your shift, but it should be possible to achieve a daily huddle to proactively discuss:

  • Patient schedule for the day
  • Do we anticipate any potential obstacles?
  • Is anything out of the ordinary happening at the facility?
  • Staffing for the day
  • Improvement opportunities – what are we tracking and what is our goal?
  • Staff time to share future improvement ideas

As a leader of a Lean Healthcare team, taking the time to huddle around your visual management board helps to ensure your team knows the plan for the day, what is expected of them and that they have support for critical decisions needed during the day.


Today’s blog was written by Nicole Einbeck,  Lean Design Consultant with HPP.

For nearly two decades, Nicole has worked in the healthcare field; from Human Resources and Risk Management, to Occupational & Employee Health, Safety/Wellness, and Process Improvement.  Most recently, Nicole spent the last five years assisting in the Lean Transformation process at Monroe Clinic, in Monroe, WI. 

Today, Nicole works primarily in healthcare lean led design revolving around new construction and move-in services, focusing her effort towards improving work flow and documenting new standards for clients. Her recent experience as the Move Project Manager and Process Improvement Specialist allows her to see the effectiveness of Lean tools furthering her development, understanding and expertise in coaching others to think and see differently. Nicole has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion/Wellness and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.

***Thanks to the Women’s Health Department at Monroe Clinic in Monroe WI for a shot of their team huddle***

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