Operational Effectiveness Planning

I was able to spend two days this week as well as two days last week learning more about Operational Effectiveness or “lean methods” of work.  This time was helpful in our planning for improvement work next year.  At McLeod Health, we see many ways to improve access for patients. We see many ways to make our work more enjoyable. We see many ways to better use our resources.

As we seek to improve the care of each patient, we learn to reduce or eliminate waste in our work processes.  Eliminating waste is not done well by edict or decree … but rather by careful study and well-planned efforts.  In our improvement work we seek to reduce or eliminate nine kinds of waste:

1.  The waste of overproduction.

-making more than needed;
-having more capacity than necessary; and
-having more space than needed.

2.  The waste of excess inventory

-having more materials, supplies, or components than needed;
-excessive levels of work-in-process or ‘batching.’
-unbalanced resources with more in one area than is needed and less in another area.

3.  The waste of transportation – involving supplies, equipment and people.

4.  The waste of waiting.  Waiting wastes many things: people’s time, idle facilities and equipment.  Waiting interrupts the flow or rhythm of work and causes ‘bottlenecks.’

5.  The waste of unnecessary motion

-poor layout of space requires unnecessary or excessive movement; and
-physical distances require unnecessary or excessive movement.

6.  The waste of overprocessing

-extra steps that do not add value for the customer;
-empty busy-ness or ‘make’ work; and
-multiple inspections , handling, documentation or signatures.

7.  The waste of correction.  Inspecting for mistakes and errors and then undoing and redoing.

8.  Complexity – work added because the task was not or could not be completed the first time.

9.  Bureaucracy – unnecessary work and needless constraints.

Next week a ‘rapid improvement’ team will improve the flow of our patients in the Emergency Department.  The Operational Effectiveness Facilitator for the event is Renee Kennedy.  The Team Leader is Robin Lewis; Team Implementers, Diane Osterman and Dr Bryon Frost;  Team Members – Miranda Knight TSCU, Shirleen Green ED, Christi Wiggins ED, Chuck Kelly Family Medicine; 2 Medical Students; and Mattie Pringle IS.

I will be looking to learn how the group removes waste from our work flow in order to improve care for patients.  To maintain the integrity of our work, and to continually improve our systems and processes, we need to foster a spirit of collaboration and interdependence among the various members of the team … all on behalf of our patients.



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