The idea of following five simple steps to solve a problem is very attractive. It’s something that sells in American culture - look at any bestseller list and you will probably find a few books promising that in some specified number of steps you will resolve whatever is plaguing you. When we have a problem, especially one that keeps recurring, we want to fix it and the idea of following a simple formula draws us in. The same can be seen in how people naturally gravitate toward lean tools when they are starting their improvement journey. Lean tools are useful and impactful, but they can also be misused.
Why is it so easy to focus on tools and what happens when improvement work is approached this way? Continue reading →
An A3 is a structured problem-solving approach that relies on the scientific method. This process allows users to deepen their thinking around an issue and collaborate with others to understand the problem and create a plan to resolve it. While the term A3 actually refers to the size of the paper that is typically used, it is important to remember that an A3 is a process and a tool, not merely a form to complete.
Here are some tips for working on an A3:
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One foundation of an organizational excellence transformation is making improvements: frequently, rapidly and with the team that performs the work every day. This is where the use of our lean toolkit comes in. In this context, we can ask ourselves: why use these tools? Which ones are most applicable to the problem we are trying to solve? When do we use them? When don’t we use them?
To answer these questions, we have to start with the most fundamental step in solving a problem that could use a lean tool: what is the problem we are trying to solve? As Albert Einstein once stated, “If I were given one hour to save the world, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute solving it.” Continue reading →
The goal of a management system is to develop people to solve problems and improve performance. A successful and sustainable management system must be rooted in the principles of organizational excellence and leaders must model the way with their behaviors. It is important to remember that a management system is made up of multiple components that are designed to work together to achieve this goal. For this reason, people often struggle with where they should start when implementing a management system. It will not happen overnight, and it will take plenty of discipline, but a management system will transform the way you work.
When organizations or units begin to implement the management system they most commonly start with the daily huddle because it seems easy to implement and gets the whole team involved. I am an advocate for starting by implementing a stat sheet.
Here are some reasons to start by implementing a stat sheet. Continue reading →
One of the best ways to learn is by learning from others. That is part of the power of the Catalysis Healthcare Value Network. Below Jean Lakin, Administrative Director, Performance Improvement at University of Michigan Health System, shares how her team engages with others to learn.
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It is the start of a new year, which for many people means setting resolutions or goals to work towards in the coming months. We often hear from healthcare leaders that they want to work on improving the culture within their team or their organization. According to the Shingo Model, the foundation of an improvement culture starts with two principles: “Respect Every Individual” and “Lead with Humility.”
These two principles are considered cultural enablers and the first place to start when changing culture. Here are some dos and don’ts to get you started: Continue reading →
As 2020 comes to a close, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the year. Reflection is integral to the learning and personal development process. This important part of the PDSA cycle helps us take stock of what went well and what we can improve on in the future.
At Catalysis, our staff have taken time to share their reflections from working with customers and one another as we pursue our mission to transform healthcare. Continue reading →
This year has been challenging to all of us in many ways. While the organizations within our Catalysis community turned their focus to serving patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, we held true to our purpose of sharing knowledge to help healthcare organizations deliver higher value outcomes for patients, staff, and communities.
As 2020 comes to a close, we thought it would be fitting to reshare the best blog posts of the year: Continue reading →
At the beginning of this year we began an experiment with Catalysis Healthcare Value Network member organization, PeaceHealth, and a handful of other eager healthcare organizations around the idea of creating a learning community. The goal was for PeaceHealth to share about their Safety STOP program and help other healthcare organizations develop one of their own. (We look forward to sharing more specifics soon!)
I believe that learning, sharing, and connecting with others is very powerful for anyone on a continuous improvement journey. I was thrilled about the opportunity to work with this learning community. Here are some of my insights from an inspiring eight-month journey with five amazing organizations. Continue reading →
The famous system thinker theorist Russell Ackoff once wrote: “The more efficient you are at doing the wrong thing, the wronger you become. It is much better to do the right thing wronger than the wrong thing righter. If you do the right thing wrong and correct it, you get better.”
It seems to me today that we do many of the wrong things better and better in healthcare. There have been many remarkable breakthroughs during COVID-19. Patients not waiting in waiting rooms, or at registration desks. Patients being examined in cars before being safely ushered to where they need to be. Virtual visits exploding. Why didn’t this happen before? I contend we have been trying to improve wrong care processes. We continue trying to improve fundamentally flawed care processes. We are stuck in old thinking that is not based on customer value and our challenge is to break out of traditional thinking into the future of healthcare. Continue reading →