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Process improvement team update

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In previous postings to VVRMC's newsletter you have read about some process improvement educational events. With that education we have introduced many new terms into our working vocabulary. Terms like Yellow Belt, Kaizen, Gemba, RIE (rapid improvement event), 5S, and so on. You may or may not understand what these terms mean today, and that is ok. However, we do want to share how these very terms are changing processes we do every day to provide the care our community can trust.

Leading the way so far has been the emergency department. The ED team has a number of working projects happening now. The best thing is these projects are being led by employees that are actually doing the work every day. They are supported by other specifically trained front line staff as facilitators to help guide the improvement.

For example, the environmental services department (EVS) is working to standardize their workflow in the ED. To state it simply, using the RIE tool the EVS team members who work most often in ED have reviewed housekeeping processes to look for waste. The team will discuss how the process should look while eliminating as much of the waste as possible. The team will then standardized the process, and finally the team will educate other EVS employees to the new process to reduce variation and save time. Once completed this will give the EVS employee a more well-organized workflow and decrease time spent by the patient waiting in the waiting room.

Another example is ED staff leading a 5S (simply a 'housecleaning' project that standardizes a work area) to improve access to supplies. This team is led by staff who work in ED and have also been trained in using the 5S tool. In combination with Material Management this team will start their project in the supply room and eventually branch out to patient rooms. When all is said and done the ED team will have improved access to frequently used supplies at the patient’s bedside. This will decrease steps and time spent walking back and forth to the supply room, increasing time the nurse has available to spend with the patient, and improve patient satisfaction with their care.

These are only two brief examples of all the exciting work the process improvement team is working on. Look for some of this in your area of the hospital very soon.

Eric Newport, MSN, LSSBB, RN
Service Line Director CV and Critical Care
Nursing Project Management
Val Verde Regional Medical Center