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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


To follow up on yesterday's post about the CC6 Lean team, I had a few minutes today to drop by just as the group was getting engaged in fishbone diagrams. These are used to brainstorm in more detail the nature of major problems, looking at their components and then asking the "five why's" to conduct a root cause analysis.

As I walked into the room during a break, a couple of people mentioned to me that the morning session had been a lot tougher, emotionally, than yesterday's current state analysis. This is a common stage in the Lean process. It is relatively easy to map out the current state. When you start talking about why it exists, it is hard not to blame someone else in the room or someone who is not in the room. "If [name] only did this differently, we could solve the problem," is the common refrain I have seen in other rapid improvement events.

But, the idea of Lean is to focus on the problem and not the person. This is not about blame. It is about a workplace environment that has evolved over the years -- full of work-arounds and inefficiency and waste. By the time I left, the group was again smiling a bit more and collaborating on how to analyze the situation. Later, they will invent countermeasures to help undo the waste, setting goals and targets and timelines for the next steps.

Here is a short video about fishbones to give you a sense of the concept and how it progresses. Jenine Davignon from our business transformation group is leading the class. If you can't view the video, click here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wow, they work hard!

The roll-out of Lean at BIDMC continues throughout the hospital. A current project is to redesign the work flow on "CC6," one of our busiest medical/surgical floors. Although the staff has been working on this for several months, it can be difficult to find time during the workday to make improvements when nurses, patient care technicians, and others have full patient assignments. So, this week, we have taken two days aside for an improvement event, during which the staff will have dedicated time to look at their processes and experiment with improvements.

I dropped by for a short time today to watch people outline the "current state" of their work flow. A person in each job category prepared a step-by-step itemization of their daily routine. I offer a videotape of sections of this below. In order, you will see Stacey Adamson, physical therapist; Dawn Castro, resource nurse; Mike Crowley, unit assistant; and Laurie Phillips, case manager. You will also briefly see Jenine Davignon, a management engineer from our Business Transformation office, and Allison Wang, a college co-op student in that office. And finally Oscar Juarez and Sandra Espinosa, being reminded to post lunch breaks as part of a busy day in the work flow of a patient care technician.

I was impressed by the complexity of each person's job. I also began to see, as they presented their daily work, opportunities for reducing waste and improving the work environment and patient care. The team will undoubtedly find many more of those opportunities during this two-day session. If I can drop by tomorrow, I will report back to you.

If you cannot see the video, click here.