But take a look anyway, if you have an interest in process improvement in hospitals. This is a collection of my best posts on this topic.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Trainees report back and train trainers

As promised, I want to keep you up to date on our experiences as we implement BIDMC SPIRIT, our process improvement program of the sort described by Steve Spear. We are now at the stage of orienting people and training the trainers, the people on our staff who will train over 600 staff members in the techniques of calling out problems and pulling together help teams to solve them. We are assisted by some folks from a firm called Value Capture, which was founded by Paul O'Neill based on his experience at Alcoa.

After the first session, as part of an effort to improve the orientation and training sessions themselves, the group leader asked:

“Tell me one thing that was great or positive about today/SPIRIT so far … and one thing that was negative or is worrying you.”

Here are the replies:

Great: The observations, the real time problem solving and action plan development. The wonderful openness of Donna (director) and her team. Some of the role plays. Today was an incredibly useful exercise. The train the trainer approach is the right one. Scary to think about doing the training, but workable. As valuable as the Value Capture people are it’s important that we show we really own this in as many ways as we can. What was bad or am I worried about? It’s a long day! The chairs were bad. The room. We are training several hundred people, but only a small portion by March 1st. I am worried we will not have enough people ready with the language and the tools. But somehow I think it will work out. We need to manage expectations and the anxiety. We need to tell people we will not be great at this at first … but it will be a start.

Ditto to everything above. Great was the observation and work on the areas we went to – that was the highlight. We called out that the PACU role play should be further simplified (told as a simple story, holding discussion until end). I also agree about changing the room.

I came in with skepticism … a lot of skepticism … and I am leaving feeling a lot better, less skeptical. Going through this was transformative. My worry is that there are still 1,000 things to learn … will we be ready? Should we cut our teeth by piloting this in a few units first?

Great: The observation and the hands on problem solving. The willingness of the staff to participate! They were really ready. They knew about SPIRIT from Paul’s messages. My worry is the same. Do we really have the readiness to train? Will management be ready. Should we ramp up from a pilot?

Great: I was pleased to see the staff’s wariness melt and the problem solving process become fun! I worry that we have to get it deep enough down to the front line staff level. Use the code team example – have an outsider who wears the lanyard who can come and help – objective eyes in an observer – together with maintaining the transparency. Those are the keys to make it safe.

I see that this could be so incredible. But I worry there on the same count. Will we be able to be fully engaged and work staff through the barriers … to really get this rolling. I am somewhat overwhelmed by the number of problems. I don’t want to let staff down. We want it to work for them.

I see the positive culture change here. I loved the value of outside eyes for problem solving. We need to add the additional helpful hints, watch outs, useful phrases to help managers approach this w/employees in real time.

This is transformative. In the middle of doing the work on the floor today it hit me. Earlier in the day, I was hung up on the connection between the log and problem solving, and then it hit me – Is this a tool or is it about a new process and way of thinking about problems. It’s the latter.

Great: It’s simple steps … we laid it out easily and we followed it. Not easy to do but still good. It’s easy to understand (the method). What worries me? We have different skill levels in the organization. I worry about will it be used at a level that it will be used well? I’m worried about time. I worried that we’ll be able to take time away from other things, especially when it’s patient care. I need more tools as a trainer. I’d like more exposure to the help chain; we didn’t have to use it in our problem.

The observation opportunity was fantastic. We struck gold with our group and problem and the staff we worked with. What’s positive is we are pushing decision-making closer to the people who do the work. I worry about training. I need more problem solving exercises to feel comfortable as a potential trainer. Also, I think this is OK/great in departments with a participatory culture, but in departments with different norms if not implemented and supported well it could be quite harmful to the people. We need to think about the involvement of coaches/outside eyes.

I went from being skeptical on the (problem solving) log to feeling it could be very useful … and applied to all kinds of problems. The last module on the log was very useful.

In terms of worries: We have not been good enough messaging that this process is for hunting and fetching problems. We’ve got to be clear about what this is for. And also for the other systems that we are preserving.

Keep in mind, it’s hard when a few things are still blurry. But consider how this is being designed as a process to improve as improvements are suggested. It’s already been improved and will continue to do so.

Have Paul continue to message directly to the staff on this. They hear him. He is such a popular figure. He is clear. They also listen because he doesn’t fill up our e-mail with too many things.

I’d like another review session, to help prepare as a trainer (in addition to the planned development sequence – just a couple hours to go over the design, etc).

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