1. The Innovator

Addressing a long-standing issue in health care inspired the culminating research project for Paul Minnick ’18 DNP, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Virtua Voorhees Hospital, a 400-bed regional medical center in southern New Jersey. Minnick had been a nurse executive for nearly 30 years when he decided to go back to school.

“I wanted to challenge myself by applying theoretical nursing principles to current practice,” he says. “And I wanted to help role model the importance of education for my colleagues.”

2. The Problem

Health care facilities across the country and the world are looking for ways to cut across silos and specialties to ensure patients are getting the care they need in the right place, at the right time, by the right provider.

Inefficient health care delivery and unnecessary medical services account for 44.5 percent of all financial waste in US health care, according to estimates from the Institute of Medicine. On top of the financial cost, poor care coordination among health care providers results in poor quality outcomes for patients.

3. The Big Idea

Every day at 9:30 a.m. in the hospital’s first-floor boardroom, Minnick calls to order a standing-room-only, 15-minute meeting of 45 department leaders, including doctors, nurses and administrators.

This is the Safety Huddle, where everyone gets up to speed on the major events that have occurred at the hospital in the last 24 hours and what the next 24 might bring. The focus is on preventing medical errors and discussing “near misses,” which are unplanned events that did not result in patient harm, but had the potential to do so before the problem was corrected.

4. The Outcome

When Minnick started the huddles in January 2018, it was sometimes a challenge for people to speak openly. Now, colleagues thank each other for raising issues and even break out into spontaneous applause to praise those who caught problems in time.

“We recently cared for a homeless, pregnant patient with schizophrenia, and the Safety Huddle provided an opportunity for key staff to come together to discuss how to meet her multiple needs,” Minnick says. “The interdisciplinary collaboration is just brilliant.”

Each issue, Villanova Magazine will give readers a glimpse of a culminating project for a Villanova student or group of students. In these experiences, students get to apply what they know, pursue what they love and present what they discover.