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KaiNexus Blog

Everything Continuous Improvement

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Greg Jacobson

Greg Jacobson is the Chief Product Officer and a co-founder of KaiNexus. He is an ER doctor that is fanatical about the single biggest barrier holding companies back from greatness - their lack of continuous improvement work. It has taken him down the path of developing KaiNexus. He also loves pickles, playing squash, and hanging out with his insanely awesome wife and daughter.
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Recent Posts

The Lean Healthcare Code

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 26, 2018 9:02:00 AM

One of the exciting things about the Lean management approach is that it is applied differently in every industry and organization. While it got its start in manufacturing, healthcare organizations have significantly benefited by using the same principles and practices with modifications. The exact tools and methods may vary from one organization to another, but there are a few core doctrines that Lean healthcare organizations all have in common. Together, they form a way of thinking that transforms organizations and changes the behavior of employees at every level of the org chart.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

What is Lean Healthcare?

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 19, 2018 3:09:00 PM

Lean healthcare is simply the use of the Lean business management philosophy in healthcare facilities. The goal of Lean is to reduce or eliminate waste in every procedure, process, and activity by applying the principals of continuous improvement. When an organization becomes Lean, there is an impact on every team member from operations and administrative staff and even clinicians. Everyone is tasked with identifying ways to eliminate any task or expense that does not add value for patients.

Why are members of the healthcare industry applying a business approach that got its start in manufacturing? According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, national health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.5 percent per year for 2017-26 and to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026. That rate of growth is simply unsustainable under existing conditions. A widespread shift in thinking and a sharp focus on customer value is necessary to keep the already overtaxed system from collapsing under increasing weight.
One change in thinking that is already becoming evident is the focus on growing more customer-centric and developing solutions that increase customer satisfaction while maintaining profitability. That’s where Lean’s focus on eliminating waste comes in. The central question, “Does this provide value for the customer,” is asked by every member of the organization, ensuring organizational alignment and consistent decision making.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

How to Craft and Implement a Strategy Deployment Plan

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 14, 2018 8:54:00 AM

One of the most essential responsibilities of leaders is making sure that activities are driven by the strategic goals and objectives of the organization. Strategy deployment, also known as Hoshin Kanri or Policy Deployment is a technique for doing exactly that. The purpose is to ensure clear communications and consistent direction so that everyone is aligned and working toward the most critical breakthrough goals, often called True North. When successful, the strategy, day-to-day tactics, and operations are all in lockstep. The strategic deployment plan also serves as a feedback loop with key performance indicators coming from the bottom up.

Getting the most out of a strategy deployment plan requires preparation and active management. There are four critical stages to consider.

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Topics: Strategy Deployment

How to Establish a Foundation for Process Improvement in Healthcare

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Sep 5, 2018 7:43:00 AM

It seems like every other day or so, I come across an article detailing how the American health care system is “broken.” These articles are usually focused on things like escalating costs, rising drug prices, problems with the Affordable Care Act, and other large-scale systemic issues. Finding the billion-dollar idea to solve any of that just isn’t realistic, but healthcare leaders can make a substantial impact on their organizations, improve conditions for employees, and secure better healthcare outcomes for patients by focusing on daily process improvement. Small positive changes might not make headlines, but they can save significant dollars or maybe even lives.

For a culture of improvement to thrive in any healthcare organization, it is necessary to develop a solid foundation by putting the essential principles of process improvement to work.

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The Best Alternative to a Kanban Board in Excel

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 16, 2018 7:37:00 AM

Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used applications on the planet. I know exactly why. It’s amazingly flexible, most people know how to use its core features, and almost everyone already has it installed on their computer.

What’s not to love?

When it comes to digitizing your Kanban board, there is a lot not to love about Excel.

Here are the main problems with using Excel for Kanban:

  • No matter how expertly you’ve designed your spreadsheet, it is still a passive artifact. It won’t notify your team when tasks or due or deadlines are missed.
  • Spreadsheets are easily broken. If you lock it down enough to protect it, it loses value. If you don’t, formulas can be messed up or data can be lost.
  • Version control is a nightmare.
  • There’s no support for collaboration.
  • Using a tool that you already have doesn’t signal a commitment to improvement.


So if for these reasons or others, you’ve decided to dump the spreadsheet approach to Kanban, good for you! Now what? When you start your search for an alternative to your Kanban board in Excel, we hope you’ll start with KaiNexus, but no matter what solution you consider, make sure it has these key capabilities.

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Topics: Kanban

Engaging Leaders & the Baldrige Framework to Advance Excellence [WEBINAR]

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Aug 3, 2018 7:14:00 AM

Mary Greeley Medical Center is a 220-bed acute care hospital in Ames, Iowa. It’s also a leading facility in continuous improvement. 

KaiNexus recently joined forces with Karen Kiel Rosser, Vice President of Quality at Mary Greeley Medical Center, and Ron Smith, the hospital’s Process Improvement Coordinator, to discuss the role the Baldrige Excellence Framework has played in their organization. You can access the full webinar here.

Keys to Success at Mary Greeley

The Baldrige Excellence Framework empowers organizations to achieve their goals, enhance their results, and become more competitive. At Mary Greeley, daily improvement programs consist of three stages:

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The Benefits of Using an X-Matrix for Strategy Deployment

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jul 19, 2018 8:11:00 AM

Hoshin Kanri (sometimes called "strategy deployment") is an approach that helps companies achieve breakthrough goals over a three- to five-year time horizon.

The methodology is effective because it allows leaders to keep their eye on the long-term objectives that will change the game, without losing sight of the day-to-day improvements that can add up to significant benefits.

However, we won’t lie. Effective strategy deployment isn’t easy.

Too often, the strategic plan gets lip service, but little else. If you are looking for help making sure that your organization arrives at “True North,” an X-Matrix might help.

 

X-Matrix Design

X-Matrices are visualization tool made up of five sections. The layout of the matrix helps define the relationships between each of them.

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Topics: Hoshin Kanri, Strategy Deployment

Back to Basics - 6 Principles of Lean Healthcare

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 11, 2018 1:40:00 PM

We spend a lot of time and effort on this blog digging into the details of how to start, spread, and sustain a Lean culture. We think it is important to get very specific about the Lean tools and techniques that produce measurable results for healthcare organizations. So of course, we care a lot about technology solutions that bring it all together. However, sometimes it is a good idea to pull back and move away from the details. Once in a while, it pays to get the 30,000-foot view and remember why we are doing this at all.

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Topics: Lean Healthcare

The CAPA Software Buyer’s Guide

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Jun 5, 2018 12:01:49 PM

Correcting and preventing problems are two of the most important things that any organization can do. That’s the driving force behind the increasing interest in CAPA (Corrective Action/Preventative Action) software. If you’ve decided to invest in technology to support your improvement efforts, you have many options. This post will give you some guidance on what to look for and how to get your implementation off to a fantastic start.

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Topics: Continuous Improvement Software, Change Management Software, Innovation Software

Considering Change Management Software? Don’t Overlook Reporting.

Posted by Greg Jacobson

Apr 10, 2018 1:00:44 PM

If you are in the market for change management software, we’d like to help. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is what to look for in a change management and improvement platform. Most people know the basics of what they need but aren’t completely versed in all the possible capabilities that technology might bring. We find that it is common for people to be so concerned with getting data into a software solution that they don’t place enough emphasis on getting data out. However, measuring and reporting on the impact of change is central to the success of a culture of continuous improvement.

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Topics: Change Management Software

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