Improve the Progression of Patient Care in a SNAP! Daily Diligence Makes Dramatic Difference

[This is the first in a series of posts about SNAP huddles, a simple but powerful daily discipline that has proven extremely effective in continuously improving the logistics of inpatient flow and care.]

Hospitals continually feel increasing pressure to provide top percentile outcomes in clinical quality, customer service, and efficiency. Delays and errors in patient care become an enemy to hospital strategic goals. SNAP—Status Now, Action Planning—establishes a concise, daily multidisciplinary dialog about patient care progression. The SNAP huddle covers diagnostics, procedures, medications and clinical care delivery to efficiently optimize outcomes. SNAP huddles encourage communication about the patient itinerary while addressing delays and obstacles to efficient quality care and patient progression.

SNAP: Uniquely Effective Daily Reviews in a Centralized Care Coordination Model

SNAP huddles support a centralized care coordination model, the heart of a throughput approach based on logistics. That care coordination model feature a key role: the clinical care coordinator, who acts as a patient navigator, overseeing the smooth and efficient transition of diagnostics, procedures, assessments and care. The daily SNAP huddles identify delays and obstacles, prioritized with an all-hands-on-deck approach. This includes the executives and leaders who can resolve issues immediately on the spot. If a patient’s care itinerary had “derailed,” front-line staff partner with senior leadership with a sharp focus to get the patient’s coordination back on track.

Daily SNAP Huddle at St. Peters Hospital

Daily SNAP Huddle at St. Peters Hospital

SNAP huddles differ from traditional patient huddles in important ways that make them much more effective. SNAP huddles establish a concise, time-sensitive format to enhance patient progression. SNAP discussions encourage bedside nurses to brief unit clinical care coordinators (another unique role in the care model) about delays and unexpected outcomes of patient care plans and treatment. The bedside nurse alerts the clinical care coordinator of any delays in procedures, treatments or expected recovery. Together they act immediately (with on-the-spot executive support) to progress the patient toward stabilization and discharge.

We’ll share more about the benefit of powerful daily SNAP huddles in another post. Until then, consider this assessment of daily SNAP huddles from a clinical care coordinator at a Care Logistics partner hospital:

“I have been a part of [this hospital] for seven years and have never seen the staff so engaged in a project. I have witnessed them grow as a team and they have given positive feedback on how they see this improving the way they provide care their patients.”

by Page Etzler and Lisa Cowan

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