Creating a culture of 13,000 problem solvers
Barb Pollock has been at Hamilton Health Sciences for more than 20 years.
And she’s seen it all.
When the organization began implementing its latest strategic initiative, called Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), she wondered how successful it would be. Indeed, she’s seen many attempts at change over the years.
“Over a year later, it’s clear it’s changing the way we work on a day-to-day basis,” says Pollock, a physiotherapist at McMaster Children’s Hospital. “We feel like we have more control in decision-making.”
CQI is a new way for HHS staff and physicians to improve care delivery.
It’s a management system created to put power back in the hands of people on the front lines, who are in the best position to solve problems.
It’s clear it’s changing the way we work on a day-to-day basis. We feel like we have more control in decision-making.
Through a set of visual tools like huddle boards and problem-solving templates called A3s, it is designed to standardize processes and give staff more control.
Amazing improvements happening daily
Achieving incremental changes to improve quality in the patient experience over the long term is one of CQI’s goals.
Improvements made include a tool to track specialty mattress orders and a process to check medication fridges. They are just a couple examples of the hundreds of changes implemented since CQI was first rolled out in 2015.
Since January 2016, there have been 350 improvements—and counting—initiated by front-line staff, ranging from patient safety improvements to enhancing staff communication.
“In the past, I would have said front-line staff were not as involved in making changes,” says Barb. “Now I see HHS as a place where our people actually have a say on real problems happening every day, and actually find a result and solution.”
Since January 2016, there have been 350 improvements—and counting—initiated by front-line staff, ranging from patient safety improvements to enhancing staff communication. A major outcome considering only eight units, a fraction of the entire HHS family of units, have fully implemented CQI.
It amounts to one improvement towards enhancing patient care for every other day. CQI is also helping teams communicate better with each other, which allows for better planning overall.
“We’ve seen more face-to-face interaction with team members and leaders on a daily basis to discuss challenges, allowing us the opportunity to be more proactive,” says Denise Riggs, clinical manager of the emergency department at Hamilton General Hospital. “As a leader, I can be more visible, which has improved my connections within the unit and my team appreciates that level of visibility.”
What’s next for CQI?
Currently, there are 18 active units, both clinical and non-clinical. HHS has set a target of having 40 active units across the organization by 2019, then continue until full implementation of CQI across the entire organization is achieved.
HHS is also tracking the number of front-line staff and physicians who are trained in A3 problem solving methodology, a new metric identified in the strategic plan.
This will help show the workforce’s increasing ability to solve problems at the front line within the CQI management system.