Huddles play an important role in a lean management system. Many organizations start implementing a lean management using huddles, primarily in their clinical areas. In a recent podcast, Kim Brown, Chief Compliance Officer, and Beau Gostomsky, VP for Revenue Cycle, from Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City shared about their work to implement huddles in non-clinical areas of their organization.
What prompted this focus? Kim and Beau were reviewing their clinical huddle boards, asking questions, and saw the opportunity to spread huddles to non-clinical areas.
Kim and Beau shared three things that stood out to them when implementing these huddles.
According to Beau “we noticed we were all on different paths in our journey and these were departments that were early on in their journey.” Because these non-clinical areas were just beginning, it was important to provide the support and coaching they needed as they learned and adapted the huddle. This can be challenging for staff at first because it brings up “a lot of nervousness, and uncertainty about what they are really doing there and speaking up and being vocal.” They met this challenge by ensuring there was engagement from all leaders both clinical and non-clinical. Beau explained that the “non-clinical huddles helped with the sense of inclusion and created a pathway for escalation.” Leaders were able to help assist and be more available to identify areas that have more challenges and barriers.
Value of Transparency
One of the reasons it was helpful to do huddles for the non-clinical areas was creating an awareness and transparency about readiness in the non-clinical areas. According to Kim, implementing non-clinical huddles, “gave them [staff] a way to escalate issues and the barriers they felt that impacted their readiness.” She also noted that by giving them a voice, it allowed non-clinical staff to identify opportunities “not only in their own areas but across departments, so we could determine the scope of some of the problems they were encountering.” This allowed non-clinical and clinical areas to focus on the task and made improvement more of a team effort. Staff were providing input on each other’s work and able to problem solve together.
Bridging the Gap
According to Kim having a shared services huddle helped fill a gap of connection between people. A number of services in their shared services areas were working remotely which caused a lack of connection for people, so having this huddle helped fill that gap. Non-Clinical huddles helped the areas continue to problem solve and provide opportunities to ask other leaders for help and to know when countermeasures were put in place. These huddles have been and continue to be effective.
Kim and Beau also shared some tips for people interested in starting a tiered huddle in a non-clinical area:
- Recognize if there is a need
- Identify where you are seeing the majority of the escalations coming from
- Start to evaluate the value of having a huddle system in those areas
- Be creative, focus on continual improvement and recognize colleagues and their work.
Where do you have huddles in your organization? Are there any areas that would benefit from implementing huddles? Please share your experiences below!
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