Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Continuous Improvement – The Method that Will Get Us to Our Vision

GBMC HealthCare is using the management science that other excellent organizations use to provide ever-increasing value to those they serve. This way to manage, created by the likes of W. Edwards Deming and Walter Shewhart in the 20th Century, is what is helping us get closer to our vision every day. How are we doing at using this science? Well, we recently “took a test” when examiners from the Maryland Performance Excellence Awards program reviewed us. The examiners studied GBMC through the lens of the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria.

On October 15th, I attended the Maryland Performance Excellence Awards dinner with a group of my colleagues. GBMC received a silver award. Congress established the Baldrige Program in 1987 to recognize U.S. companies for their achievements in quality and business performance and to raise awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence.

Forward thinking organizations like GBMC utilize the National Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence to make themselves better, faster. This was GBMC’s first application for this distinction, and to be honored with the silver award recognizes the advances our organization has made in improving care to our patients. Our vision is a vision of perfection, and we won’t get there unless we use scientific management. We will apply for the award again next year, because it is a great way to learn and improve our management systems.

At the awards dinner, I had the opportunity to explain our vision to a large group of people assembled from other industries. I told them about our quadruple aim (Better Health, Better Care, with the Least Waste and the Most Joy for those providing the care) and I gave them some examples of the progress we were making. As I was speaking I realized how proud I was of everything that our people were accomplishing, but I also recognized how much work there still is to do to become even more patient-centered.

Our vision of perfection includes always delivering the correct medication at the correct dose to the correct patient. This is the definition of a highly reliable medication delivery system. Our Pharmacy team is using continuous improvement to build this highly reliable system. And, with this week being National Pharmacy Week, I asked our pharmacy team to explain their expanded role in patient care and safety.

Todd Jackson, Automation Systems Analyst, Pharmacy Informatics explains:

“In both the hospital and community setting, Pharmacists play an integral role in patient care by preventing medication errors, advising physicians on the best drug choices, safeguarding against medications allergies and drug interactions, and working with nurses to ensure that patients understand how to use their medications safely and effectively.

Several members of the Pharmacy team including (L-R):
Mahsa Mahmoudian, C.Ph.T, Nicole Garrison, R.Ph, Dana Hack, R.Ph.,
Heather Orach, C.Ph.T., Peter Furgiuele, R. Ph.
(Not pictured: Min Min Than, R.Ph., Pharmacy Director, and Todd Jackson)
Certified pharmacy technicians play an equally important role in the healthcare continuum. Incorporating a high level of multitasking ability, they are involved in compounding medications, packaging and labeling, and delivering medications.

Pharmacists and certified technicians have taken on enhanced patient care roles through the use of special technologies including DoseEdge, Medex, RobotRX, as well as the Acudose and Anesthesia RX stations.  Here at GBMC, technology is utilized at many points in the pharmacy workflow. 

Computers also help pharmacists monitor every patient’s medication therapy and provide quality checks to detect and prevent harmful drug interactions, reactions, or mistakes. But, it still takes a human being to evaluate what the computer says and to know what to do to prevent adverse medication events.”


To move toward our vision of perfection: “To every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones,” we must continue to have outstanding professionals who continually improve our systems. I thank teams throughout GBMC, such as our Pharmacy team, for holding themselves accountable for the attainment of our vision.

What are your teams doing to redesign systems and improve quality in your departments?


  1. To all of the pharmacists, and pharmacy techs… Happy Pharmacy Week!. Your team is very hard working and is an extremely busy department. You have a tough job and I’m so glad that your group is being recognized for all that you do. I would also like to recognize the Physician Assistants. National PA week is Oct 6th -12th. This group of people are also very dedicated and hard working. Other facilities recognize PA week, as they do nurses week and doctors day. I hope that GBMC will eventually get on board and realize that Physician assistants provide a fantastic service to GBMC and deserve recognition as well


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