How to create effective sustainable on-going improvement.

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We received an inquiry from a hospital asking how we work with clients to create effective sustainable cross functional teams, once the excitement of the complex collaboration is complete. It is normal after a launch, when the individual thrill is gone and hospital staff are using the technology on a daily basis, to settle into the lull of general satisfaction with the basic gains.

Do we sacrifice the full extent of the potential gains of a technology implementation by settling on the early gains of go-live? You have to create a culture of constant improvement to truly receive the return on investment of the products acquired…. if not then they are just products and not really a tool to improve patient experience.

Here are a few tips that work for us:

The Cadence.

This is really important once you lose the cadence (consistency) then it’s hard to restart without a “new technology implementation or initiative.”   Our “Blue Pants Program” (Patient Experience Program) is very simple. We meet quarterly with leadership and provide a list of gaps we have identified using the data from their technologies.   They pick the gap or gaps that resonates most with their initiatives or objectives. We are often asked to tackle all gaps at once, but we find it more effective to focus on one or maybe two at a time.

The gap(s) become a focus for a period of 3 months. We work out the details of “how” with the cross functional team, then engage monthly with consistent individual end users to give hands on feedback.   At the end of the year we give a synopsis of the achievements made.

This cadence does three things:

  1. It creates consistency and focus for the organization around constant improvement.   It is a huge culture boost to see hard work paying off and displayed in reality of data.
  2. It brings unity and comradery to the team as we focus on a common goal together.   Comradery and a little competition….which is never really a bad thing if the culture is one where “we win together”.
  3. It teaches people to engage, in real time, with data on a regular basis – creating a more data driven culture.  Data driven cultures are results driven cultures.

The Executive Leader.

It is critical to have an executive say (and mean) “we want change” and “we believe in data”. We have observed several times where this is said but the same executive team does not make it a priority.

The executive leader creates the opportunity and permission for allocations of resources. We have an extremely successful client, whose CNO is the constant champion for the cause of data being used to create real change. They have had great improvements and transformed their culture to one that values data. She is phenomenal.

The Leader creates three things:

  1. Opportunity to implement change. If a gap or gaps are identified, and resources are required to adjust the technology, process, policy or behaviors (that’s the four areas we focus in on) then the leadership must allocate the resources. If leadership is disengaged, then it will never become a priority.
  2. Set the example. This is a tricky one. The leadership must integrate data into their conversations, their expectations and their evaluations…. so important.
  3. Set the priority. A lot can be solved if you look at the right data– it can be like drinking from a fire hose. While a collaborative team can provide insights on where energy, time, and money can be focused – it is ultimately the responsibility of the leadership. (They are also accountable for things to their board, or boss)

Sphere3® has worked with dozens of hospitals to help implement real ongoing change.  Our tool Aperum® pulls information from nurse call, cardiac, and RTLS and puts the information into the hands of the care team in real time. It allows a hospital to leverage data at the point of care. Hospitals we work with use the data to adjust caregiver workload, respond to patient concerns, and relieve alarm fatigue in real time when it matters most.   Our analytics tool is complimented by an integrated mobile leadership rounding and hourly rounding that gathers patient feedback then uses real time nurse call analytics to better respond to their needs.

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