Markets and customers are changing faster than companies or healthcare organizations can adapt, according to Beau Keyte, one of the co-authors of the recently published workbook Perfecting Patient Journeys.
“The rate of change is increasing, the complexity is increasing,” Keyte told “The Leaning Edge” host Debra Levantrosser in a concise two-part radio interview on the Michigan Business Network
Healthcare organizations and companies can’t keep up with the changes because continuous improvement professionals, external consultants, department “A teams” – the people usually charged with problem solving – can’t keep up.
“Our observation is that these guys are tapped out,” said Keyte. “There’s not enough capacity there to deal with all of the problems that are facing companies.”
The solution is to build the “problem-solving muscle” of the entire organization by encouraging collaboration. Instead of a few people doing a lot of good thinking, everyone thinks about their problems and how to solve them. The result is a more adaptive organization, Keyte said.
Improving Patient Flow
Keyte told Levantrosser how the collaborative method works by describing an improvement project he and the team of co-authors did with the Michigan Hospital Association. Tasked with improving patient flow in the emergency departments of 70 hospitals across Michigan, the team realized that “being able to help 70 teams at the same time is probably too much bandwidth for most organizations – and costs too much money.”
So the consultants sought to create continuous improvement cultures at each organization by taking a vanguard team from each emergency department, teaching them “an awful lot” away from their hospitals, then sending them back to their home organizations. People took what they learned back, not as solutions but as ideas to engage others.
In Part 2 on the interview, Keyte described how the training materials developed for the vanguard teams became the basis for the workbook, which he described as “a how-to guide for frontline personnel to scope, test, and implement new changes in value streams.”
He and Levantrosser discussed the results of the training effort and the use of a key technique called “socialization,” the cycle of communication in order to engage an entire organization. They also talked about the unique challenges of applying socialization in healthcare “silos” and the unique role of frontline staff in healthcare.
Learn more about collaborative learning with these resources …
Listen to Part One of the interview (seven minutes, aired April 26, 2013)
Download excerpts and templates from Perfecting Patient Journeys: Improving patient safety, quality, and satisfaction while building problem-solving skills