Seamless efficiency improves patient experience
“I was lying there watching the nurse and Dr. Aldrich as they did my endoscopy. And I thought, ‘This is amazing. Not a motion is wasted.’ It was as if it was choreographed.”
Little did this patient realize: All that graceful, economic motion was the result of applying “lean” Michigan Quality System concepts before, during and after the move into the new Ambulatory Surgery and Medical Procedures Center on the U-M East Medical Campus.
Center medical directors Leslie Aldrich, M.D. and Norah Naughton, M.D. led this charge to build quality and efficiency into all of their processes. Their teams looked at every process and need—from staffing to documentation to the types of outpatient surgeries and medical procedures to be performed at the Center—to see how they could be streamlined without compromising quality.
“We took nothing for granted,” Naughton said. “We initiated operational processes with an eye on efficiency and teamwork. In some cases, it was a huge culture shift.”
Naughton had previous experience in the use of paperless, electronic medical systems and she applied these principles to the new facility. Required documentation is now obtained from the patient’s electronic medical record, which pulls data from CareWeb and Centricity.
The teams also looked at ways to cut down operating room turnover times. “We use electronic auditory and visual cues to let everyone know when the patient and OR are ready. This system allows the circulating nurse to stay in the OR while maintaining safety checks.” The result? The Center’s OR turnover time has improved by 30 percent.
The teams tackled inventory management, labeling drawers and ordering supplies for each room so they are fully equipped and ready for anyone to step in and work.
This endoscopy patient probably didn’t notice that the Center is paperless or that the staff share duties whenever possible. She also didn’t know that months ago, Dr. Aldrich and her staff performed many dry-run procedures, recording what worked well and what didn’t. But she did notice the most important things—efficiency, competency and compassion. Just one more way the Health System is getting “lean” and improving clinical practices and, ultimately, the patient experience.
For more information on the Michigan Quality System and lean projects at UMHS, visit this Web site.