Establishing an Effective Huddle Team

The Benefits of Interprofessional Huddle Teams?

  • An Interprofessional huddle team provides:
    • A patient-centred approach focusing on client goals to enhance and encourage client engagement9
    • Interprofessional collaboration to better patient-level outcomes and improved client safety 2,3,7
    • Holistic, patient-centred care through collaborating resources by combining team members’ skills, experience, and knowledge 2,3,7

How to Facilitate Effective Interprofessional Huddle Teams?

  1. Communication – Establish consistent communication channels, meeting place and time5-8
  2. Organizational Support – Formalize administrative processes to support actions of huddle5,10
  3. Collaboration – Listen and respect the perspective of other professions. Participate in collaborative problem solving using the skills of everyone on the team1,4
  4. Culture Shift – Move away from “silo” thinking to improve collaboration and create a shared vision for each client’s plan of action11
  5. Client Engagement – Determine workflow for a client’s next steps, ensuring the clinical team understands who is performing the next tasks and how the handoff will be handled9,10

Click here for the Effective Interprofessional Huddle handout


Including Local Volunteer Program Coordinators (VPCs) into Health TAPESTRY Interprofessional Team Huddles

Purpose of VPCs Attending Huddles:
To make more direct links between primary care teams and Health TAPESTRY volunteers, via local volunteer program coordinators, with an aim of improving client care.

Benefits of Including VPCs in Huddles
VPCs can:

  • Add context to TAP-Reports (e.g., through checking survey responses or giving additional information they’ve learned about clients)
  • Add clarity and provide examples of how volunteers can support care plans
  • Provide links between huddle teams and community programs 12 (e.g., by giving huddles information on referrals and barriers which they’ve learned from volunteers)
  • Be an additional resource that huddles teams can draw on when care planning
  • Simplify communication channels by being present, reducing risk of miscommunicating volunteer follow-up requests 13, 14, 15
  • Ensure TAP-Reports for certain clients are available if their family physician will be attending the huddle meeting

Including VPCs in huddles can:

  • Lead to an enhanced volunteer experience by being able to let volunteers know what happened to the TAP-Reports they contributed
  • Add continuity, as VPCs would then be involved in all clients’ steps in Health TAPESTRY (like scheduling visits, reviewing reports, attending huddle meetings, arranging follow-up)
  • Improve quality of TAP-Reports, through VPCs learning what information is most useful to the huddle and passing this on to volunteers, or addressing concerns of unclear TAP-Report sections with volunteers

Keys to Success
For an Integrated Huddle Team

  • Role Clarity: Ensure all huddle members understand each other’s roles, and the role of volunteers 12, 17
  • Shared Goal: Ensure everyone has an understanding of the shared goal 12, 14, 17 (i.e., supporting optimal aging at home)
  • Common Language: Have accessible discussions 16 (e.g., the VPC may need medical terminology or acronyms defined)

For VPCs

  • Actively Participate: Attend scheduled huddles 12,13,14 and contribute to discussion
  • Understand your Volunteers: Go in knowing volunteer skills and abilities
  • Work to Improve your Knowledge: About community resources and basic clinic systems that will aid your work with the team
  • Observe and Problem-Solve 12, 14, 17
    •  Identify gaps in services based on huddle discussion and determine how   volunteers can help meet these needs
    • Assess ways the volunteer agency can complement services offered by the primary care team without duplicating services
    • Watch for areas for improvement in written sections of TAP-reports
    • Listen for common themes that come up in huddle meetings (e.g. social     isolation, difficulties with goal setting) to inform future volunteer training
  • Have confidence in your role; step up and take initiative 12

For Huddle Leads

  • Organization: Remember that the VPC is offsite and needs to be separately notified of scheduling changes 12
  • Facilitate the Huddles: Solicit feedback from all huddle members during meetings, including the VPC

Click here for the VPC and Huddle Collaboration handout


1. Brennan SE, Bosch M, Buchan H, Green SE. Measuring team factors though to influence success of quality improvement in primary systematic review of instruments. Implementation Science. 2013: 8 (20): 1-17.

2. Callaha CM, Boustani MA, Unverzagt FW, Austrom MG, Damush TM, Perkins AJ, Fultz BA, Hui SL, Counsell SR, Hendrie HC. Effectiveness of collaborative care for older adults with Alzheimer disease in primary care: a randomized controlled trial. Jama(2006); 295(18), 2148-2157.

3. Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. Evidence synthesis for the effectiveness of interprofessional teams in primary care. Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. 2012.

4. Chung VCH, MA PHX, Hong LC, Griffiths SM. Organizational Determinants of Interprofessional Collaboration in Integrative Health Care: System Review of Qualitative Studies. 2012; 7(11):1-9.

5. Drew P, Jones B, Norton D. Team Effectiveness in Primary Care Networks in Alberta. Healthcare Quarterly. 2010; 12(3): 33-38.

6. Gocan A, Laplante MA, Woodend K. Interprofessional Collaboration in Ontario’s Family Health Teams: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Research in Interprofessional Practice and Education. 2014; 3(3): 2-19.

7. Jesmin, S., Thind, A., & Sarma, S. (2012). Does team-based primary healthcare improve patients’ perception of outcomes? Evidence from the 2007–08 Canadian Survey of Experiences with Primary Health. Health Policy105(1), 71-83.

8. Moore A, Patterson C, White J, House ST, Riva JJ, Nair K, Brown A, Kadhim-Saleh A, McCann D. Interprofessional and Integrated Care of the Elderly in a Family Health Team. 2012. Can Fan Physician. 2012: 58(8); 436-41.

9. Morgan S, Pullon S., McKinlay E. Observation of interprofessional collaborative practice in primary care teams: An integrative literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2015; 52: 1217-1230.

10. Sicotte C, D’Amour D, Moreault M. Interdisciplinary collaboration within Quebec community health care centres. Social Science & Medicine. 2002; 55: 991-1003.

11. Van Dongen JJJ, Lenzen SA, van Bokhoven MA, Daniels R, van der Weijden T, Beurskens A. Interprofessional collaboration regarding patients’ care plans in primary care: a focus group study into influential factors. BMC Family Practice. 2016: 17(58): 1-10.

12. Embuldeniya, G., Kirst, M., Walker, K., & Wodchis, W. (2018). The generation of integration: The early experience of implementing bundled care in Ontario, Canada. The Millbank Quarterly 96(4), 782-813.

13. Abendstern, M., Hughes, J., Jasper, R., Sutcliffe, C., & Challis, D. (2017). Care co-ordination for older people in the third sector: Scoping the evidence. Health and Social Care 26(3), 314-329.

14. Connell, B., Warner, G., & Weeks, L. (2016). The feasibility of creating partnerships between palliative care volunteers and healthcare providers to support rural frail older adults and their families: An integrative review. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care 34(8), 786-794.

15. Sargeant, J., Loney, E., & Murphy, G. (2008). Effective interprofessional teams: “Contact is not enough” to build a team. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 28(4), 228-234.

16. Naylor, C., Mundle, C., Weaks, L. & Buck, D. (2013) Volunteering in health and care: Securing a sustainable future. London: The Kings Fund.

17. Abendstern, M., Jasper, R., Loynes, N., Hughes, J., Sutcliffe, C., & Challis, D. (2016). Care coordination for adults and older people: The role and contribution of the non-statutory sector. Journal of Integrated Care 24(5/6), 271-281.