Friday, June 6, 2014

A 5S in the Transport Hub

Hospitals have a lot of equipment that is not always used but must always be ready for use when patients need it. Most hospitals struggle with knowing precisely where their equipment is so that it can be moved efficiently to where it is needed. When the organization cannot quickly find equipment and move it on demand, the staff get frustrated and begin to “hoard” equipment, which generally makes the problem worse. 

Last week, a team gathered to conduct a Kaizen event, 5S in the Transport “Hub.” Unlike many other hospitals, GBMC has a unique area that houses more than 200 pieces of patient use medical equipment such as beds, stretchers, lifts, bariatric supplies and pumps. GBMC’s “Hub” operates 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The “Hub” was selected for a 5S event due to problems with overcrowding and lack of standardization, making it very difficult for staff to efficiently retrieve patient care equipment. This resulted in delay for patients and staff, and certainly less joy for transporters, nursing staff and patients.

A 5S event’s main goal is to organize and standardize an area. 5S stands for Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. 5S is at the foundation of LEAN performance improvement. Evidence shows that when a 5S is done well, the workplace will: “talk” to you, control itself, be refreshing, be safe, predictable and reliable. Results will shorten training for new employees and be welcoming to everyone: workers and visitors alike.

5S Patient Transport Hub Team

Michael Forthman, our Vice President of Facilities was the executive sponsor for the event. The team also included Neil Crockett (Facilitator), Courtney Hendon (Team Leader), April Herring (Director of Transport), Erin Wedemeyer, RN(IMC), Rayna Bush (Transporter), Asher Shorter (Transporter), Romaine Howard (Patient Flow Coordinator), Alex Ebright (Intern), Rachel Tonge (Crothall Manager) and William Shaffer (Bio-Med). It was important to have the transport staff on the team as the experts of “hub” operations. Nursing representation was also important to help the team understand the clinical needs of the transportation hub.

The scope of the event included both sides of the “Hub,” - employee areas and wheelchair storage within numerous lobbies throughout the hospital. The objectives were to: train the team in 5S principles and implement those principles; target equipment areas to organize, standardize space for patient volume, staff workflow and restocking process; determine physical items and information needed in the “Hub” area; and design standard process for check in/check out of equipment and accepting new equipment/supplies.

Through this event the team “sorted,” “set in order,” and “shined” both sides of the Hub, the hallway, the employee areas and six lobby areas which house most of the hospital’s wheelchairs. Results included 10 dumpsters of disposal, 60 visual parking spots for equipment, 120 visuals, and labeling of 60 wheelchairs for their specific lobby areas. After the 5s event, the transport team targeted the time needed to take equipment to patient care areas to less than five minutes – a 66% improvement! In addition, the team discovered equipment stored which had never been used and learned that we had been renting similar equipment for the past year. This was a tremendous waste!

Before- Side 2

After- Side 2

The next steps include creating a standard process to introduce new supplies and equipment into the hub. The 5S principles will be shared with the whole transport team to ensure that the new design is sustained. I am very grateful to this wonderful team for making our transport hub so neat and orderly and for creating a more reliable system for storing and mobilizing equipment!

Town Hall Meetings

Don’t forget to attend one of the upcoming Town Hall meetings. Following is the schedule:

June 9 – 12:00 p.m. – 1: 00 p.m. – Civiletti Conference Center, A, B & C
June 10 – 7:00 a.m. – Unit 37
June 13 – 7:00 a.m. – SICU
June 13 – 8:30 a.m. – Hunt Valley
June 18 – 7:00 p.m. – Unit 34
June 20 – 7:00 a.m. – Unit 38
June 23 – 11:30 a.m. – Owings Mills
June 30 – 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Civiletti Conference Center, rooms A, B & C

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