STUDY - Hospital executive walk-rounds can improve safety

New research published in BMJ Quality & Safety reveals that a specific method for fostering interactions between hospital executives and front-line health workers can reduce staff burnout and improve hospitals' safety cultures.

Stop trying to control people or make them happy

It has been more than eighty years since Frederick Taylor and Elton Mayo produced their studies about Scientific Management (Taylor) and Human Relations in the Workplace (Mayo), yet mangers today continue to use their methods when they face a management challenge or want to boost morale. The consequence is what we call "complicatedness," which spells trouble for a company's productivity and leads employees to feel frustrated and to disengage.

Hansel and Gretel: Lessons for Managing a Crisis

A fresh look at managing change, especially change that comes as a response to a crisis. Although we all fear a crisis, it can serve an important function by forcing you onto a path you wouldn't have dared walk before. It can be an emboldening, even enlightening, experience. When you step outside your comfort zone, you have a chance to discover new and sometimes unexpected ways to push past uncertainty.

Isn't it time to finish the transformation of management that Deming started?

On July 13, 1950, Dr. Deming was invited to meet with 21 presidents of Japan's leading industries representing about 80 percent of the country's capital. Dr. Deming told the Japanese presidents many things on this day, the most important being that if the Japanese followed his teachings that the world would be screaming for protection from their quality products within five years. According to Dr. Deming, "they did it in four (years)."

Making process improvement 'stick'

Process improvements have become a main goal at hospitals, particularly as demands for greater efficiency in care delivery rise alongside care costs and pressures to improve outcomes. Hospitals can facilitate these improvements by first explaining to staff why the changes are necessary, then encouraging leaders to champion the improvements by tying their evaluations to the outcome, as well as ensuring staff and leaders have the skills necessary to achieve those goals.

Ensuring competition begins with transparency

"In theory, {healthcare} it's an environment ripe for collusion and imposition of market power-driven price increases on consumers, insurers and employers, who can be taken for a ride by dominant insurers blithely passing along price increases. In theory, excessive market power also squelches innovation and makes it difficult for new entrants to enter the market. Yet there's no evidence any of that is taking place. In fact, healthcare delivery appears to be at the dawn of new era of innovation that's helping drive down both volume and prices."

The life of a healthcare CIO: St. Bernards Healthcare's Mark Odom

As many IEs in Healthcare, Mark Odom started his career in manufacturing right out of college. He has found many valuable lessons from manufacturing that he now uses as the CIO of St. Benards Healthcare.

White House: New PCAST report says "systems engineering" can improve healthcare

On May 29, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report to President Barack Obama that identifies a comprehensive set of recommendations, including the implementation of systems engineering, to address cost and quality challenges in healthcare.

Predictive analysis for employee retention

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare had a nurse retention problem. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of the system's nurses left within the first year, and a growing number were leaving before the 90-day mark.

Hospitalists as industrial engineers

The president of the Society of Hospital Medicine identifies attributes of industrial engineers that make for a better hospitalist and where to acquire tools and skills to succeed in a multifaceted role.

Career makeover: Shaking off a shy image

This article describes how one self-described introvert addressed a perception of shyness and increased his influence at work.

Engaging frontline employees in problem solving to provide ideal care in the PICU- East Tennessee Children's Hospital 

This poster presented at the 2013 Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference describes a staff-driven approach for improving patient care in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Thanks to Mark Graban for identifying this poster.

Organizing for systemwide improvement - Cutting costs without cutting corners: Lessons from Banner Health

There are two keys to successful cost-cutting in healthcare: the first - necessary but not sufficient - is to apply proven tools and tactics from industrial engineering, lean, Six Sigma, and business process re-engineering; the second is to align the initiative with the organization's mission and culture and engage clinical and administrative staff across the organization to collaborate in the process. This post from the HBR Blog Network describes how Banner Health, one of the nation's largest health systems, did it.

Engaging frontline employees in problem solving to provide ideal care in the PICU- East Tennessee Children's Hospital

This poster presented at the 2013 Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference describes a staff-driven approach for improving patient care in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Thanks to Mark Graban for identifying this poster.

Hybrid field: Nursing and industrial engineering

In this article, Patti Brennan, the Lillian L. Moehlman Bascom Professor in the School of Nursing and College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, discusses the intersecting fields of industrial engineering and clinical care with members of University of Missouri's Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department.

Using electronic health records to improve quality and efficiency: The experiences of leading hospitals

This report from the Commonwealth Fund describes recent experiences of leading hospitals in implementing electronic health records.

What we didn't know we didn't know - and what you can learn from it: BJC HealthCare transformation journey

This presentation at the 2012 Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference describes the first part of a lean Six Sigma journey at BJC HealthCare. The author provides a candid discussion of the difficulty of change in a large organization and provides important lessons for anyone undertaking a similar challenge.

IEs as leaders of change in healthcare

This presentation was recently given by SHS member, Jim Brachulis, to provide an overview of how IEs can be a change agent in improving healthcare delivery.

Process improvement drives Northeast Ohio Lean Six Sigma Forum

What do Kaiser Permanente, NASA, Key Bank, Akron Children's Hospital, Kent State University, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland all have in common? This article describes how process improvement leaders in Northeast Ohio from diverse industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, financial services and government agencies focus on identifying and sharing best practices quarterly via Northeast Ohio Lean Six Sigma Forum.

IE's as Leaders of Change in Healthcare

Jim Brachulis, director of performance improvement at Oakwood Healthcare, shares some of his insights into roles and expectations of new industrial engineers entering healthcare. Jim notes critical to the IE’s path is how leadership is developed and utilized to help them advance change and also in transition to later opportunities in their careers.

Discussion Paper: A CEO checklist for high-value healthcare

A nationally recognized group of physicians and healthcare leaders participated in an Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care. The group developed a short list of strategies that that have proven effective and essential to improving quality and reducing costs in healthcare.

Sustaining financial performance through a large scale system wide performance improvement initiative 

In this presentation at the 2011 SHS Conference, Lynn Alters describes how a system-wide performance improvement initiative improved margins by 40 percent at WellStar Health System using internal resources and fostering an environment of trust and respect. In addition to the financial benefits, the initiative created stronger leaders and will soon exceed its initial goals by three-fold.

Transforming care at the bedside: increasing patient satisfaction through employee engagement and teamwork at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, New Jersey

Nursing leaders at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey, engaged staff to improve patient and employee satisfaction and reduce staff turnover on a medical-surgical unit using the Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) model developed by Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The team focused on a set of directed methodologies and conducted a number of experiments that resulted in dramatic improvement.

What makes a hospital great

In a recent New York Times article, Dr. Pauline W. Chen makes a case that organizational culture is more important than technique and technology in providing quality healthcare.

Evaluation of industrial engineering students' competencies for process improvement in hospitals

In an article recently published in the Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, the authors concluded that while IE students working in hospitals focused on technical approaches to improvement, mastery and application of softer skills may be more beneficial.

Helping a hospital shine

In an article previously published in Industrial Engineer magazine, industrial engineering researchers at Clemson University assisted Cannon Memorial Hospital in Pickens, S.C., in a number of hospital-wide and service specific improvements resulting in increased efficiency.

Strategies for Leading through Change: People Matter

Effective leadership is the most important consideration for successfully implementing organizational change. In this paper presented at the 2010 SHS/ASQ Healthcare Division annual conference in Atlanta, Dr. Norka Saldaña describes a comprehensive change leadership model based on the current literature and her extensive experience in industry.

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