Improving quality takes every tool in the tool box
August 5, 2011
I had the privilege recently of hearing how three teams of staff and physicians in our health care system made changes to their own work that will directly improve the quality and safety of the care we provide to Islanders every day.
Representing Summerside Home Care, the QEH Lab, and the QEH Emergency Department, the teams had spent 120 days examining and improving their work processes using Lean Six Sigma, a quality improvement philosophy being successfully employed in health care systems across the country. They achieved impressive results, such as reducing the time it takes to deliver lab specimens so patients receive results sooner, reallocating home care nurses’ time so they are providing more patient care, and decreasing patient wait times in the Emergency Department.
These staff and physicians are to be congratulated for volunteering to be part of this new initiative and for showing true leadership and commitment to quality improvement. LTS Consulting President Dale Schattenkirk, who guided us through Lean Six Sigma as he has with many health care systems in Canada, said that we were as good as any organization he has seen at being ready to make this transition.
Lean Six Sigma is the next evolution in the continuing growth of our organization over the past couple of years. It brings more sophisticated quality improvement tools to the work we’ve been doing to integrate our health care services, increase accountability and better measure our progress.
It’s encouraging to see other divisions and departments asking to be included in the next set of Lean projects, even though they recognize the amount of effort the first teams had to put into their respective projects. It reminds me once again of the unmatched dedication and character of the people we have within Health PEI.
As we move ahead together, it’s important to remember that every improvement we make to our work will ultimately result in better care for our patients, clients and residents.
Keith Dewar, CEO
Posted at 9:47 am