Everything in its Place: Materiel Services and CVC Go Lean
When it comes to patient care supplies, the Health System deals in millions of individual items annually, and keeping the right inventory at the ready in patient care areas is critical. That’s why Materiel Services and Cardiovascular Center staff collaborated to create a new substocking system in the CVC Intensive Care Unit.
Now, instead of nurses, techs and assistants all running back and forth to the supply room several times a day, the Materiel Services staff makes sure patient rooms are stocked daily—saving nursing staff time and energy they can devote to patient care. This new substocking system is saving an average of $2,225 a month by reducing the number of calls to Materiel Services for supplies by 60 percent.
“As we worked through the process, we realized stock people felt that if a nurse was in the room, they shouldn’t interrupt, so they bypassed the room,” says Jolé Mowry, R.N., clinical nurse specialist, CVC ICU. “Now they know that probably 90 percent of the time—unless there’s a code or a lot of people in the room—they can just proceed and stock at the bedside cart. Their customer service has been tremendous.”
Mowry noted that great communication between Materiel Services and CVC staff, and improved stocking guidelines were additional benefits of this lean project. “The whole thing went incredibly smoothly,” says Pat Dean, R.N., CVC ICU. Dean credits the lean Just Do It process for improved communication. Lean Just Do It projects are used when teams decide to create and pilot a change immediately, identifying and working through issues quickly. Good communication among all team members is key to successful project outcomes.
“It demonstrates the importance of face-to-face communication with people,” says Dean. “It’s about how to get complicated things done in a timely manner. As a lean team, we saw each other a lot. We had no choice but to talk about the parts of the process that were bogging us down.” Stock keeper Nia Thurmond says, “It’s important to the nurses and the patients to have the correct supplies needed on hand at all times.”
“Substocking falls right into the lean concept, where you’re not duplicating work over and over again,” says Pat King, warehouse operations supervisor, UMH Materiel Services, and a member of the leanteam. “Now our stock keepers are right there on the floors working almost hands-on with the nurses. My whole crew walked away proud.”
King invites anyone who would like a tour of the new system to contact her at 734-936-6166 or via e-mail.
Read about other lean initiatives happening throughout the Health System.