Solving Problems with Mary Greeley Medical Center
Nothing makes going to work so pleasant as when you’re working with warm, welcoming, dynamic leaders and engaged and enthusiastic staff. Luckily, that’s what I found when I showed up at Mary Greeley Medical Center for the first day of our KaiNexus Workout. As an added bonus, the first day of the workout followed a presentation by Quint Studer of Studer Group, whose teachings I’ve followed for the past five years. Studer successfully roused the group and prepared them for the work that the team and I were about to engage in.
The MGMC team and I started out by talking about the increased need for healthcare organizations to revamp their current processes in order to eliminate waste so as to meet the changing demands of consumers and government regulations. MGMC is no exception to that need, so the goal for the KaiNexus Workout was to come up with one Opportunity for Improvement (OI) per person that increased revenue or decreased expenses, of course without negatively impacting quality and safety, and could be completed in 100 days.
To set the tone for a day of creative, out-of-the-box thinking, we did an exercise with tennis balls to stimulate some creative thinking and to demonstrate that there are multiple ways to solve problems. This exercise led into brainstorming a truly incredible list of Opportunities for Improvement (OIs). If the sheer volume of ideas (500!) isn’t enough to impress you, you definitely would have been wowed if you’d seen the quality of ideas the team developed. They were brave in their choices and had picked some ideas that were easy to implement, yet would have a big impact in the organization.
After that 10-minute brainstorming session, everyone shared their ideas with their unit-specific team members and picked two they thought were the best and that might apply to areas. An important component of the event was that the teams were able to vet ideas with other units, resulting in cross functional collaboration that created instant buy-in and synergy.
One of my favorite ideas addressed the organization’s existing policy that all patients were to receive to sleep masks and earplugs upon admittance, even though many patients didn’t use these items and they were discarded upon discharge. The OI was to create a message for patients informing them of the availability of items and to ask their nurse if they would like a set. I think this OI was really great because it decreased waste and expense while still preserving the beloved hospital program that provides a kind service to patients.
At this point we’d made such great time and come up with such powerful ideas that we decided to have each team develop the action steps for their OIs and present their ideas to their executive team leader for approval. After showing the leaders how to enter the OIs into KaiNexus, the innovation software we’re using to track and record the progress and impact of this work, we said our goodbyes until next month. I can’t wait to see the rest of the ideas that are submitted between now and then.