Striving to Improve Quality Care

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE,  – 

Words like Kaizen, kanban, gemba and takt time are not common expressions shared among the majority of people here at Community Hospital of Bremen. Recently, though, our hospital, along with several others from around the State of Indiana, were selected by the Indiana Rural Health Association to participate in a "Lean Healthcare" training program. The course is being presented through the Purdue Healthcare Advisors program. Our first "lean team" was assembled early in January 2012 and is represented by Andrea Koontz, Jan Rozenboom, Stacy Rice, Jackie Sell, Loretta Negiz, and Richard King. Over the past weeks, some of the team members, with pad and pencil in hand, have been observing various activities taking place in several departments throughout the hospital.

Lean initiatives take a close look at the processes we all do, no matter what our role, and assess the "value" our patients receive while under our care. A newly implemented Lean Mission Statement embraces these Lean principles focused on increasing value to the "patient experience" through continual process-improvement proposals. Lean methodology has been proven to greatly impact the workplace in positive ways. There are five key concepts that support Lean thinking. Each team works to specify value, identify, and eliminate waste, create flow, establish pull/JIT (just in time), and pursue perfection toward targeted objectives. The outcomes following a team's research and planning consist of newly designed Lean solutions that should mark a notable decline in waste, inaccuracies, redundancy, and inconvenience.

Current team members are focusing their attention on the hospital's present "transition of care" practices, specifically those associated with patients leaving the ED and moving to the medical floor of the hospital. Once the members have completed their findings and each step of the Lean model has been met, the plan can be implemented. Plans will often go through a series of small change testing before full introduction. That's really the heart of the Kaizen philosophy — Kai: to change or modify and Zen: for the better and with respect for people." Team members have been excited to express to their fellow employees the newfound understanding associated with Lean concepts. It is essential that each staff member at Community Hospital of Bremen recognize the importance and significance of every interaction with our patients. Developing Lean Management into our everyday process applications helps to make that meaning even clearer.


Tags: Process & Cost Improvement (Lean)

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