Collierville, TN (PRWEB) March 03, 2014
Extraordinary market conditions continue to force US healthcare providers to find proven ways to ensure their survival. Employing Lean methodologies has been recognized by LifeWings and many industry leaders as the most effective way to optimize safety, quality, lead time, and return on investment (ROI).
Unlike many quick-fix programs, Lean works because it requires a holistic cultural transformation in an organization. It requires new habits, new skills, and new thinking throughout the organization. Everyone from senior management to front-line service providers must practice the Lean approach daily.
Stev e Montague, V. P. of LifeWings and an expert in patient safety improvement, describes lean methodology as “…a scientifically proven process to create an army of problem solvers among your physicians and staff who take personal responsibility to methodically determine the most efficient and least wasteful way to deliver the right care to the right patient at the right time with the right outcome.”
To help its healthcare clients adapt to current challenges, LifeWings, the leading provider of patient safety improvement programs, has developed a program that blends Lean methodologies with other popular improvement programs including Crew Resource Management (CRM) and TeamSTEPPS. LifeWings’ uniquely integrated program helps hospitals create a system that protects patients, increases efficiency, and improves profit margin on the bottom line. The program has consistently resulted in measureable improvements at more than 50 hospitals in the last three years.
The backbone of sustainable improvements is the set of effective protocols, or standard processes, that an organization develops and implements to address its weaknesses. These protocols provide the improvement map for all levels of staff in an organization. As a result of following the map, everyone knows exactly how things should be done, and everyone, including the least senior team member, feels empowered to speak up when standard protocols are not followed.
To get the most from these protocols, the LifeWings experts advise these six best practices:
1. Protocols are known and used by all staff and regularly monitored for compliance; e.g., each unit has well-defined, standardized assessments and admission order sets for all critical pathways, eliminating waste (such as confusion and rework) and optimizing care.
2. Protocols exist for all patient-centered communications and are known and used by all clinical staff and are regularly monitored. Staff are trained to use stop-the-line assertions, cross-checks, and mutual support to ensure peer accountability to use protocols.
3. Inter-area protocols are known and used by all staff and regularly followed; handoff information is documented; communication is interactive; and contingency plans are in place.
4. Information flow is intuitive and efficient. Physician and nurse communication is interactive, and input occurs across work domains; multiple channels exist for soliciting concerns. Communication and collaboration skills are purposefully trained using CRM (TeamSTEPPS).
5. Multiple means are in place to capture patient and family concerns; systems are in place to capture and respond to positive and negative feedback. Peer-to-peer and team-based performance feedback (debriefing) is a routine behavior.
6. Protocols and discharge order sets exist for all patients, including, for example, a formal plan for handoffs between hospital and primary care physicians, thus hardwiring effective communication between caregivers.
Using the LifeWings integrated approach and these best practices for protocols ensures the best possible outcome for a hospital’s improvement plan and long-term survivability. For more information about LifeWings, please visit http://www.saferpatients.com.
LifeWings Partners, LLC is a team of physicians, nurses, Toyota-trained Lean experts, health risk managers, astronauts, military surgeons, and flight crews. In 2005 we pioneered the successful adaptation of best practices from high-reliability organizations such as aviation and nuclear energy, to healthcare. We have partnered with more than 110 leading healthcare organizations and have helped them achieve dramatic, sustainable, and measurable improvements in safety and profitability.