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Are You Using the Right Tool to Solve Your Problem?

hand tools

There are many types of problems in the world, and even more methods that can be used to solve them.  The key is using the right method or tool to solve the problem at hand.

Let’s start with an analogy. You want to hang a picture on the wall. You have multiple tools at your disposal. Your tools include a screwdriver, a 3D printer, and a hammer and a nail. Now, you could use the handle of the screwdriver to punch the nail into the wall, which might be a bit slow and unsafe. You could use the 3D printer to make a hammer and then pound the nail into the wall,  but making the hammer may take a long time and be very costly to produce. Or you could just use the hammer. All three methods would produce the same result, but some may not be as fast or efficient as others. I like to keep this in mind when looking at how to solve a problem. Continue reading →

What Does Population Health Mean To You?

Sustainable community concept

We hear people talking about population health more often than we did before. This trend is likely to continue as healthcare organizations are working to reduce costs and increase patient value.

Population health is about individualized care and intervening earlier to get a better outcome based on what works for the population. This thinking allows caregivers to see trends across groups of patients and can help them better address their specific needs.  Continue reading →

Leadership is Key, but not Always Enough

Posted on by Paul Pejsa

Road amidst Mountains

As members of the Catalysis Healthcare Value Network team, we have a unique perspective on healthcare transformation because we go to see many organizations every year. When I reflect on the organizations that I have visited one thing stands out, leadership is key, but it is not always enough.

This year I have seen a few scenarios that demonstrate why an organization needs to work diligently to engage all areas of the organization in the transformation journey. Below are a few of examples of these scenarios played out: Continue reading →

Are You Measuring the Right Things?

Charts-and-Graphs-image2

“Without the capacity to measure, we would be uncertain, literally, as to where we stood and where we are going. We would not know if we are rich or poor, hot or cold, old or young. The very word ‘measure’ pervades all fields… You can’t make decisions, connections, money, or music without true measurements.” – Geniat and Libert

In the world of overwhelming data, how do you know if you are measuring the right things? The focus is often on outcome measures.  These measures are used to compare performance between organizations and individuals. The struggle is that the outcome measures are often not real-time. It is hard to know whether the improvements you are making have any impact until the end of the month, quarter or year. Good performance measures should focus on systems and processes that create value and are ultimately measured by outcome measures.  Continue reading →

Stop Breaking New Processes

Leader standard work is an essential component in a lean environment. The fact is that using lean with processes without changing leadership principles and practices never goes well. Consequently, when leaders stick to their old ways the new lean processes will eventually break.

Leader standard work should include activities that support lean principles. For example, leaders need to schedule time to see reality from the gemba, to develop and coach their team members, and to assess and reinforce the alignment to the True North goals.  Continue reading →

How to Create Strategic Agility with Senior Leaders

Posted on by Jeff Hunter

When I’m speaking with central improvement office teams about Patient-Centered Strategy: A Learning System for Better Care I’m often asked, “This makes so much sense to me, but how do I get the senior leadership team to do this?” This captures a common frustration among improvement professionals Many tell me things like “my senior leaders say they support lean, but they don’t model the principles and behaviors that embed lean thinking in the organization.”  Continue reading →

Are Principles a “Cabin Word”

A while back at Catalysis we did an ice-breaker before a value stream mapping event that demonstrated how the meaning of words can differ from person to person.

First, the facilitator tells the story of a man who was found dead inside a cabin and nobody else was around. The team takes turns asking questions to try to figure out what happened to the man. People guess things like: “he fell,” or “there was an avalanche.” The team is taking the word cabin to mean a log building out in the woods or the mountains. But in this case, the man died from a plane crash; he was found in an airplane cabin. Continue reading →

When Your Role is to Coach Up in Your Organization

Posted on by Karen Flom

Often improvement team members are in the position of coaching someone who is a senior leader in the organization and who may even have positional authority over them. This can often be nerve-racking and make these coaches feel like they are not equipped to succeed. Continue reading →

Five Benefits of Practicing Kata

Smiling multiethnic staff at the wall with stickers on a meeting in the company.

Many organizations we work with have management systems and problem-solving processes and tools already in place. They often wonder how and where kata fits into what they are already doing. Kata does not replace these tools; instead kata can be used as an opportunity to enhance the processes and methods that you are currently using.

There are two patterns of kata, improvement kata and coaching kata. Improvement kata is simply a routine to engage a team around process improvement, whereas coaching kata is a method or routine for coaching a person through problem-solving.  Continue reading →

Bringing Intention to Life

Posted on by Paul Pejsa

Christie Clinic Debrief2

Healthcare leaders all have the best intentions to become better leaders and transform the culture at our organizations. Maybe there are behaviors we want to work on, or maybe we just need to get to gemba more often. The problem is that things tend to get in our way, there is always some other work to be done that we may deem as a higher priority. But what is a higher priority than the culture of our organizations?

We need to make the time and be intentional about making a change. Continue reading →