Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A sign of a learning organization (e.g., those which have adopted a Lean philosophy) is the unending commitment to getting better.  When you go to one of these hospitals and say, "How are you doing?" the answer is inevitably something modest like, "Pretty well, but we have so much too learn."  Also, such hospitals are keen to celebrate the improvement activities of their front-line staff and managers. One such example is Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, under the leadership of CEO Jeff Thompson.  Every Friday, 200 managers and staff gather at 8:00am to celebrate and recognize recent improvement activities, and then a written summary is distributed throughout the hospital.  Here's last week's summary:

March 28th Improvement Event Recap:

At last week’s Improvement Event there we saw three examples of our Staff’s passion, initiative and talent!  Here’s a few highlights:

·         Shawn Stevenson (Business Development and Marketing) presented on “Managing Staff Workloads and Stress”.  Being unsatisfied with his department’s EPS Results, Shawn decided to take some unique and effective steps.  In working with his staff, he determined an imbalance in workload was the primary driver of increased stress and lower than desired engagement scores.  He worked hard with is team to fix this.  Using the A3 tool and the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) process he’s expecting big things in the next employee survey!  Check in with Shawn if you didn’t get a chance to see one of the tools he invented – THE STRESS-O-METER!
o   Observation:  Some would say “Attitude is Everything”.  Poor attitudes in our staff can be a result of being Overwhelmed – and that one is on us!  Shawn did a great job in recognizing this and doing something about it!

·         Lynn Dosch (Purchasing) and Michelle Tilson, RN (Wound Center), teamed up to present on “Reduction in Rental Equipment Expense”.  They noticed a significant increase in the use of Low Air Loss Overlays for the prevention of Pressure Ulcers.  They wondered whether we were truly using these rented overlays only when they would help our patients, or if their use had become routine.  As a result of asking the question, and deciding to take action together (using a PDSA data-driven process) they were able to reduce expenses by more than $23,000 per year while seeing improved outcomes.
o   Observation:  If every leader at the improvement event found similar savings in their departments we would reduce expenses by $4mil!  This is a great example of what we can accomplish when Supply Chain and our Clinical Areas work together!  Go team!

·         Alan Eber (Facility Operations) and Tammy Anderson (Inpatient Psychiatry) presented on the “New Inpatient Behavioral Health Building”.  We saw a great example of how the Process Improvement Tools, when applied collaboratively between Facility Operations and Clinical Operations can make a lasting impact!  As a result of this kind of collaboration, we now have a beautiful facility that fosters a “best-in-class” healing environment for our patients and is one of the most energy efficient buildings of its kind in the world!
o   Observation:  With an annual energy cost savings of ~$50,000 and a 50-year building design life, we will be “stuck” with saving millions of dollars over the coming decades.  Imagine what we would have been “stuck” with if we did not have such a talented team working together to bring this kind of value to our patients and our community!

And remember:  “The best way to predict the future is to create it!”  I am very excited to see the future we will create together!

Mark E. Platt
SVP Business Services


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