Wednesday, October 19, 2016

GBMC is a Learning Organization

I have spent my career in healthcare and for most of it I was on the frontline, taking care of patients. During our Epic implementation, I was reminded how little I actually know, or how little anyone actually knows, about how our healthcare system functions. I don’t mean that glibly –– our company has thousands of workflows in order to get the job of patient care done. Some of them are designed beautifully and work very well. Others are very complex, have fallen together over time, and are more like a Rube Goldberg contraption (a device that performs a simple task in a complicated fashion).

All of my GBMC colleagues will have their favorite examples of well-designed processes they are involved in daily and others that are in need of redesign. I can think of many processes that work well, but one of our most elegant is the check-in and rooming process at Family Care Associates. Patients are greeted, checked in and then immediately escorted to an exam room to be seen by a doctor. It’s a very smooth, generally reproducible process.

One of my least favorite processes in our company is the process for telling new patients how to get to the location of their visit (and where to park!). Prior to a patient’s first visit, some offices/clinics call and/or mail instructions while others give the name (e.g. North Pavilion) and/or address of the building. I wish I had a nickel for every patient I have found lost on our campus or parked needlessly far from where they need to be.

We should not be surprised that we have many processes that are too complicated and wasteful, nor should we be ashamed when we identify them. We should, however, be ashamed if we don’t learn from what we find and test changes to improve. This is the whole reason for doing Lean Daily Management (LDM). Maybe we should change the name of this practice to Learn Daily Management.

I was speaking with Radiology Quality and Patient Safety Coordinator, Brenda Schuette, on LDM this week. Brenda explained that she discovered a change in the process for ordering electrocardiograms, a result from the Epic implementation which created difficulty in getting ECGs read quickly by a cardiologist. The bad news was that the process had been slowed down, but the great news was that Brenda was part of a team that was studying the process and using their learning to test a fix! Having people learning about our processes every day is a requirement for getting to our vision of treating everyone, every time, the way we want our own loved ones treated. Let’s keep learning!

Thank You!
We couldn’t have asked for better weather during last week’s Baltimore Running Festival. Thousands of people participated in this year’s event including approximately 100 runners who joined team #RunGBMC to raise funds in support of Gilchrist Center Baltimore – Joseph Richey House. The 19-bed inpatient center has been serving patients in Baltimore City for more than 30 years by providing residential, acute and respite care. We’re still counting, but so far we have raised more than our $50,000 goal. The money raised by team #RunGBMC will help cover Joseph Richey House’s operating expenses not covered by insurance or patient payments.

I participated as part of a four-person marathon relay team with Lisa Baylin, a patient from our Comprehensive Obesity Management Program and teammate who so graciously hugged me when handing off the timer, along with Greg Shaffer and John Lazarou from our marketing department. We all had a great time in support of an important cause.

I’m very grateful to all of the employees, volunteers, patients and supporters of GBMC Healthcare who helped us raise money and awareness of the outstanding work at Joseph Richey House.

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