The Michigan Quality System (MQS)
builds on our Continuous
Quality Improvement Program (PDF) tools and methods
and the philosophy of the Toyota Way to
help us improve the way we care for patients every day. Each of us has a critical role to play to ensure that care at UMHS meets all six aims of health care:
- Equitable - not varied due to gender, ethnicity, geography,
the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century,
Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, 2000.
The Michigan Quality System (MQS) is based on the "Lean Thinking" approach to quality improvement first developed by Toyota
and now widely used in
manufacturing, the service
industry, and increasingly in health care. Its five core principles
- specifying value from the customer's perspective
- identifying the value stream for each product
– the process by which we add value from the customer’s persective
- making value flow without interruptions
- letting the customer pull value from the producer
- pursuing perfection
– doing all of this every day, in all our work
The overarching mission of the Michigan Quality System (MQS) is:
The endless transformation of waste into value from
the customers perspective
in the delivery of health care.
Some in health care worry about the use of the term “customer,” thinking it refers to patients only, rather than to anyone affected by our work. We can also use the term “those we serve” to avoid this confusion. Customers can be either internal or external. While patients are
our "end" customer, there are
many other customers we must consider, including each other.
When one department needs a piece of information from another
department to perform a task, that first department is the
For example, when radiology needs a requisition from our physician to schedule and perform an MRI, the ordering physician is an internal customer, just as the patient is the external customer.
The Michigan Quality System will consider the needs
of all customers as we improve how work is processed.
The Michigan Quality System (MQS) is not an effort to cut people
or costs (though costs often do decrease as a result of process
improvements), or to make people work harder. Rather, it is
an effort to make workflow smoother, more productive, more
valuable to the customer, and
easier for the worker. The philosophy is a natural extension
of our goal of "Putting Patients and Families First."
Background about "Lean
The term "Lean Thinking" was first applied to describe
the Toyota Production System of product development, production,
supplier management, customer support and planning, according
to Womack and Jones, in the book, (Lean Thinking). In industry, this approach
uses fewer "inputs" -- such as time, human effort
and materials -- than traditional manufacturing to produce
a wider variety of products with fewer defects more quickly.
The Toyota Way has been applied successfully to a variety of industries, to companies that provide services to people, and increasingly to health care delivery.
The Health System leadership has committed to helping us
all make this transforming journey, to create at UMHS a new
system for continuously improving all we do. We have named
this journey the Michigan Quality System (MQS). We selected this
approach for several reasons. We believe together we can create
the Michigan Quality System (MQS) that builds on the learnings at
Toyota and GM – a system that:
- Creates the most value while consuming the fewest resources
- Helps us see the root causes of waste and errors
- Helps us solve the root causes, to transform waste into
value from the perspectives of our patients, our co-workers,
our payers and the communities we serve
- Helps every worker at UMHS, clinician and non-clinician
alike, continuously search for ways to make our work easier,
safer, faster, and with fewer errors
- Helps us do this every day
Eight Forms of Waste in Health Care
- Overproduction and Production of Unwanted Products:
- The most important form of waste – leads to all the others
- Any health care service that does not add value to the patient
- Antibiotics for respiratory infections
- CT screening for coronary disease
- Medication given early, testing and treatment done ahead of time to suit staff schedules and equipment use
- Appropriateness – the key dimension of QI in health!
- Material Movement:
- Moving patients, meds, specimens, samples, equipment
- Worker Motion:
- Searching for patients, meds, charts, supplies, paperwork
- Long clinic halls
- No printer in exam room for prescriptions, patient education
- ER staff waiting for admission, can’t see next patient
- Waiting for test results, records, information
- Nurse waits for blood draw, transport, OR cleaning
- Bed moves, retesting, repetitive paperwork, multiple consent forms, logging requests
- Bed assignments, pharmacy stock, lab supplies, specimens awaiting analysis
- Patient waiting for anything – tests, visits, discharge, phone cues
- Correction of defects:
- Medication errors, wrong patient, wrong procedure, missing or incomplete information, blood re-draws, misdirected results, wrong bills
Adapted From Long: Seven Wastes of Healthcare, Mersereau, and Billi
Rework because of defects, low quality, errors.
Requisition form incomplete/inaccurate/illegible.
Order entry error.
Producing more, sooner, or faster than required by the next process.
Unused printed results/reports.
movement (travel, searching, walking).
Walking to and from copier/office/ exam room.
Searching for misplaced form/ equipment/chart.
patient or material movement.
Multiple patient/paperwork transfers.
Temporary locations for supplies.
machine, and information idle time.
Patient in waiting room.
Wait for lab results.
material, or patient in queue or stock.
Patient waiting in exam room.
Excess stored supplies.
or unnecessary processing.
Reentry of patient demographics.
Repeat collection of data.
abilities of people.
Nurses refilling Rx or making appointments.
Doctors doing simple patient education.
What is a "Value
A value stream involves all of the steps, both those that
add value and those that don't, that are required to complete
a service from beginning to end. It is, in short, "everything that happens to get the job done."
Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping is a paper and pencil tool we will use
in the Michigan Quality System. It is a diagram of the process
that occurs when a task is undertaken -- for instance; the
steps needed to schedule a clinic appointment. The specific
steps are "mapped" on paper, including the employees
involved, the interruptions that occur in the process (time
waiting for a scheduler to respond to the request), the error
rate (the percentage of time the first selected appointment
time doesn't meet the needs of the patient), and other details.
Mapping the process on paper:
Value stream maps are created by the very employees who are
responsible for performing the work involved. All of the people who are
involved in completing a task are brought together in a group,
where they together map out the various steps that take place
to finish the task.
They create a Current State Value Stream Map, a visual display of the way the work is done now.
- Makes work visible
- Helps us understand workflow
- Assists in measuring how well the process works in terms of cost
- Will help us redesign the process to meet specific business
- Will allow us to use Lean tools to achieve the redesigned
Drawing a Value Stream Map to Achieve
Future State Goals
Once the process has been mapped, the group can begin to
analyze it, addressing such questions as:
- Is process time too long? Process time is the time actually spent working on a task.
- Can it be reduced? If so, by how much. How would you draw
your map to meet this process time goal?
- Is wait-time too long?
Wait time is the time spent by a patient, process or service with no action taking place.
- Can it be reduced? If so, by how much? How would you draw
your map to meet this wait-time goal?
- Is lead-time (process plus wait-time) too long?
- Can it be reduced? How would you redraw your map to reduce
- Is overall quality (% complete and accurate) acceptable? Is
there too much rework?
- Can quality be improved and rework reduced? If so, by how
much? How would you draw your map to meet this future state
Adapted from John Long, M.D., Lean Concepts, LLC
State Design Questions
Once the current state is mapped and analyzed, the group
works to develop an ideal future state -- in other words,
what the process should look like to meet the customer's needs.
To design this improved "future state," again, questions
need to be addressed, including:
- What are our customer requirements?
- Where and how will you trigger or sequence work?
- How will you establish rhythm or milestones to pace the work?
- How will you make work flow smoothly?
- How will you make work progress, delays, and problems visible?
- What process improvements are necessary?
Source: John Long, M.D., Lean Concepts, LLC
With these answers in hand, an improved, simplified and efficient
process can be developed and implemented. Once implemented,
the work continues as the new process is monitored and improved.