A look at how Operational Process Redesign is changing how we work and is improving the hospital experience
by Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director
With only 13 months remaining before our anticipated move-in date, Eden Medical Center is intensively planning every aspect of the transition. But moving into a new hospital doesn’t mean taking with us all of our old systems and ways of doing work. Our employees, physicians and hospital leaders are taking a whole new look at our work processes with the goal to better support the hospital’s mission and improve the way we care for patients – now and in the future.
Our Process Redesign experts do more than look at a specific task. They examine the entire process of providing a service to a person. The employees, physicians and managers performing these tasks are the experts who focus on re-designing the process as a whole in order to achieve the greatest possible benefits to the hospital and ultimately for our patients. The goal is to realize dramatic improvements by fundamentally re-thinking how the organization’s work should be done, rather than focusing on just one specific task improvement.
Leading Eden’s Process Redesign effort is Shelly Young, RN, MHA, CNOR. We sat down with Shelly to learn more about the work she’s doing at Eden.
Q. Tell us about you.
I have totally embraced Lean and Six Sigma, what we call Operational Process Redesign, because it provides a way to help groups of people from all areas of the hospital solve their own problems in a way that works for everyone.
During my years as a Registered Nurse in the operating room, people who didn’t understand my job were dictating how to care for patients without consideration of how the work was accomplished, often making the work harder. Hoping to facilitate what I thought should be “dictated,” I went back to school. Then, as a member of administration, I still found physicians or patients unhappy with the admin-driven processes. Now, as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, I can help develop effective, helpful solutions by coaching teams of people who do the work and know how it will fit into their existing processes.
Q. What do you want people to know about Process Redesign?
It works! It really works! Using a scientific approach to solving problems, in a way that brings together representatives from each role in a process, we come up with solutions that would not have been discovered any other way. People with different roles in the hospital sit down and solve problems together.
Q. What do you want from employees?
Participation. I want ALL employees to participate. We need employees at the table because they are the experts at their jobs. The people who do the work are very aware of the things that don’t work for them in their everyday work processes, and they often have great ideas for making it better.
Q. What’s the best lesson you have learned?
The smallest, simplest fixes can make the biggest difference. The simplest solutions will improve a process throughout the entire hospital. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or require big staffing changes to make a better process. We just have to organize ourselves to be more efficient to get care to patients in a healthy and safe way and, at the same time, create an ideal work environment for staff and physicians.
Q. What do you want to achieve here at Eden?
I want to help Eden employees understand how to make this difference. We care about our patients, about humanity and the future of health care. If we can create something at Eden that works for us, it can serve as a model that can work anywhere else in the country. We could change health care! It’s so simple. We don’t always have to spend millions of dollars in equipment to manage the process, we just have to listen to the people who do the work and remove everyday obstacles that keep them from getting their jobs done. Simple solutions will help us all be better prepared to move into our new, state-of-the art hospital.
I love what I do. I love making a difference for people I don’t even know. I’m excited to share this awareness that process redesign is not rocket science. Some solutions are very simple, some are huge, but most important, those solution come from a team of people who are involved in the work. It’s what sets Eden Medical Center apart and above.
Stay tuned: We’ll take a closer look at some of the Process Redesign teams in progress and follow their success over the next year.