Solving Problems & Engaging Caregivers With Applied Lean Methodology

The Challenge

It’s no secret that many health systems and health system leaders are always looking for ways to innovate and become more efficient, and one way to do that is through Lean Methodology. The challenge is, many times the idea of Lean and the methodology behind it are very hard to implement. Vynamic was approached by a long-standing client, a large statewide integrated delivery network, with this precise problem.

Our Approach

As with any project, we set out with a vision of the end in mind. What would success look like in this case? For us, that meant tailoring the best elements of Lean and customizing them in a way that would embody the spirit of our client and their values. It also meant that at the end of this journey we would create an environment of thousands of problem solvers able to apply the best elements of continuous improvement. The challenge was urgent, because many health systems are facing this same problem day in and day out, whether it’s internal cost factors or external entrants into the market, so we had to act fast.

When you’re embarking on a program with big goals, it’s important to have tangible outcomes in mind. Things like:

  1. Patient and caregiver experience
  2. Reducing harm
  3. Improving financial outcomes

Although this program would expand to the entire network of hospitals, it was also important to dig deeply into model areas and test these hypotheses on non-clinical and clinical departments so we could find out which elements worked and which elements did not work.

In both our organization-wide work and in our model areas, we adhere to a set of key tenets.

  • The first is grounded in values and behaviors. We were working with a mature organization dedicated to a set of values and associated behaviors and we wanted to honor those.
  • We aimed for consistency, not standardization.

We put ourselves in the shoes of those frontline caregivers to understand what mattered most and what needed to be fixed. This caregiver approach was key to ensure that this program stuck.

One example of our approach in action came in the introduction of huddles across the health system. They’re not traditional Lean huddles, rather they’re forums for two-way dialogue and collaborative problem solving.

The Results

Along with our client we’ve been excited to see some early success indicators.

  • Improvements in key pain points
  • Overall increase in employee engagement
  • Appreciation of the customized elements of continuous improvement that are coming to life in their areas
  • Infusing proven behavioral elements into this methodology so there is a human element to solving problems

There is an opportunity to replicate these successes anywhere, as long as the values and behaviors are established at the health system.

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