Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Becoming a Lean Hospital

In Orange Regional’s continuous effort to improve the patient experience and increase patient satisfaction, we need to commit to being the best we can be. What does that really mean? It means being the provider of choice for our community, the employer of choice for our staff and the workplace of choice for our doctors. It means treating our patients with quality care and compassion; being kind, courteous and supportive to each other; and providing a work environment that makes the best use of everyone’s time.

To assist us in achieving these goals, I am pleased to announce that Orange Regional Medical Center has joined high performing hospitals across the United States in embracing a continuous improvement initiative called the Lean Hospital. This initiative is supported and endorsed by The Joint Commission.

What does it mean to be a Lean Hospital? It means continuously improving how we work to enable our employees to more effectively do the job they were hired to do. It means working with employee teams to study how we deliver and support patient care; and making changes that streamline processes and improve the patient experience while enhancing job satisfaction. It may be as simple as eliminating a redundant form in the Admitting Packet or as complex as modifying the discharge process. But whatever the result, the Lean initiative has been found to improve communication, build teamwork and increase job satisfaction.

To help implement these new principles, we have engaged The Leonardo Group, a Lean training company with offices in the United States and Europe. The Leonardo Group has been helping companies implement Lean since the early 1990’s, and has worked with some of the most successful companies in the world including John Deere, Boeing and General Electric, to name a few. The idea at Orange Regional is to learn how to “Do Lean” with our own staff so that it becomes an ongoing process embedded in our culture. When applied rigorously and throughout the entire organization, Lean principles have a dramatic impact on quality, productivity, cost and timely delivery of services.

This is an exciting and timely initiative for ORMC that will touch on many of areas of the hospital. Some results will be immediate; others will require more time. But, we will keep you updated on progress and look forward to employee participation and support.

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