Optimizing Huddle Engagement Through Leadership and Problem Solving Within Primary Care: Results from a Cluster-Randomized Trial

Michelle A. Lampman, Aravind Chandrasekaran, Megan E. Branda, Marc D. Tumerman, Peter Ward, Bradley Staats, Timothy Johnson, Rachel Giblon, Nilay D. Shah, David R. Rushlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Leaders play a crucial role in implementing and sustaining changes in clinical practice, yet there is limited evidence on the strategies to engage them in team problem solving and communication. Objective: Examine the impact of an intervention focused on facilitating leadership during daily huddles on optimizing team-based care and improving outcomes. Design: Cluster-randomized trial using intention-to-treat analysis to measure the effects of the intervention (n = 13 teams) compared with routine practice (n = 16 teams). Participants: Twenty-nine primary care clinics affiliated with a large integrated health system in the upper Midwest; representing differing practice types and geographic settings. Intervention: Full-day leadership training retreat for team leaders to facilitate of care team huddles. Biweekly coaching calls and two site visits with an assigned coach. Main Measures: Primary outcomes of team development and function were collected, pre- and post-intervention using surveys. Patient satisfaction and quality outcomes were compared pre- and post-intervention as secondary outcomes. Leadership engagement and adherence to the intervention were also assessed. Key Results: A total of 279 pre-intervention and 272 post-intervention surveys were completed. We found no impact on team development (− 0.98, 95% CI (− 3.18, 1.22)), improved team credibility (0.18, 95% CI (0.00, 0.35)), but worse psychological safety (− 0.19, 95% CI (− 0.38, 0.00)). No differences were observed in patient satisfaction; however, results were mixed among quality outcomes. Post hoc analysis within the intervention group showed higher adherence to the intervention was associated with improvement in team coordination (0.47, 95% CI (0.18, 0.76)), credibility (0.28, 95% CI (0.02, 0.53)), team learning (0.42, 95% CI (0.10, 0.74)), and knowledge creation (0.74, 95% CI (0.35, 1.13)) compared to teams that were less engaged. Conclusions: Results of this evaluation showed that leadership training and facilitation were not associated with better team functioning. Additional components to the intervention tested may be necessary to enhance team functioning. Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier NCT03062670. Registration Date: February 23, 2017. URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03062670

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2292-2299
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • huddle
  • practice transformation
  • teamwork
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Optimizing Huddle Engagement Through Leadership and Problem Solving Within Primary Care: Results from a Cluster-Randomized Trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this