Thursday, December 18, 2014

Synchronizing Our Work to Improve Patient Flow

Today, during Lean Daily Management Rounds, Melissa Nichols, the Clinical Unit Coordinator in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) was explaining to me how they had tested a change to their process for moving patients from the SICU to a floor bed. The SICU team had initially taken a design from another unit, but they were frequently missing their goal of 30 minutes from “ready to move” until patient departure. 

When the SICU team was studying the causes of missing the goal, they saw on their Pareto chart that transport was frequently arriving late. They asked the question "Why is transport arriving late?" What they learned was that transport was not being given enough time to get to the unit because they were being called too late in the process.

Synchronization is a change concept that brings the players or processes in a design into “harmony.” When we synchronize processes in patient flow, we allow the operators to organize their work so they can be ready to act at a specified time. Melissa, Jen McDonald, the SICU Nurse Manager, and their team moved the notification to transport to a point earlier in the process, allowing transport to “synchronize” its work. Transport can now be prepared to move the SICU patient at the “ready to move” time. You can see that since the SICU changed their design a few days ago, they have not missed a transfer time!

 On a separate note, one of our beloved employees will be leaving us soon. We have all heard the phrase “their work is their passion.”  Those words were written to describe Linda Kelly and her years of service as the Clinical Program Manager for our Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) Program. 

Linda has been the leading force of our SAFE Program since 2006 and has provided an extremely valuable service to the victims of sexual assault in Baltimore County.  Linda established our SAFE Program as a comprehensive service in conjunction with the Baltimore County Police Department, the Baltimore County State Attorney's office, local universities and sexual assault counseling providers to ensure victims are treated professionally and compassionately.  Under Linda’s leadership, the staff at the SAFE Program has provided community outreach and educational programs pertaining to safe dating and recognizing and dealing with violence in a relationship.  Linda has done an excellent job representing GMBC in public appearances and has made a difference in the lives of our patients as well as the community at large.

Please join me in wishing Linda and her husband, Pat, all the best in their retirement.  Linda will truly be missed.

I am also pleased to announce that Laura Clary, RN, will assume the position vacated by Linda.  Laura completed her forensic nursing training at GBMC and joined the SAFE Program as the Clinical Program Manager in 2010.  Please join me in congratulating Laura in her new role!

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