Harnessing Improvement Efforts in an Acute Hospital

podcasts-300pxMark Graban produces an excellent podcast series. If you haven’t come across it, I recommend it highly.

Episode #252 (it’s been going for a decade, which must be about a century in podcast years) featured Jordan Peck of Maine Health. There were two ideas in this podcast that I enjoyed – one on axiomatic design, to which I hope to return, and an excellent demonstration of using a daily management process to support improvement initiatives over time.

Jordan describes a familiar tension between project based improvement work, often delivered by specialists who work with a specific team, and engagement of staff in continuous improvement. MaineHealth have tackled this by meshing locally identified improvement work with daily management.

The process is outlined in a useful paper, which describes the place of the local work in the hospital’s overall improvement efforts.

The key parts of the MaineHealth approach are:

  • Standard Work for local improvement boards
  • Priorities selected by the unit staff
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are updated by the unit
  • Coaching on Lean techniques as needed to support the unit-specific work
  • A daily gemba walk led by an Executive

The gemba walk follows on from a daily huddle, and is run tightly to time. A video from MaineHealth shows the process. Staff present a brief update each day, giving an opportunity to celebrate success, and to raise issues that would benefit from further support. There is Standard Work on the gemba walk.

This sounds like a very organised system, focused on supporting staff-identified improvement topics. It will be fascinating to see results on staff engagement over time.

If you are thinking about how to increase staff buy in to improvement work, whether you use Lean methods or not, it’s well worth listening to this podcast, and having a look at the associated paper and video.


Image courtesy of JoBrad at http://www.openclipart.org


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