By December 2, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

How Engaging Everyone in Kaizen Saves this Hospital Leader Time Lots of Time

A few weeks back, I posted the first new video from my Healthcare Kaizen co-author‘s health system: “Endoscopy Nurses are “Kaizen Crazy” at Franciscan St. Francis Health!” Today’s post includes the second video and, as I add new ones, you can view the whole series here on the blog or via a YouTube playlist.

pharmacy manager franciscan saves time kaizenIn this video, Ronda Freije, R.Ph., M.B.A., a director in the pharmacy, talks about how engaging her staff, including pharmacists, in a Kaizen improvement process has freed up time for her. At first, getting started with Kaizen requires a time investment and commitment from leaders like Ronda. It often just seems like one more thing to do in a busy week.

But, Ronda and her team illustrate how that investment can pay off. Instead of people running to her with every little problem, they now have the capabilities and confidence to address many problems without her (while still keeping her in the loop). This frees up time for Ronda to be a more strategic, forward-thinking leader.

In her own words:

The “50” star that she’s wearing, that badge holder, is a recognition that she has personally participated in more than 50 Kaizen improvements related to her own work.

I’ve seen this dynamic in other organizations… when leaders realize, early on, that engaging people in Kaizen will SAVE time for managers. One emergency department director told me last year, on his second day of piloting a Kaizen process, that he realized “This will save me time! Instead of ten people all coming and complaining about the same problem, things are actually getting fixed!”

Are you able to get your leaders to make the same leap? Can you get them to shift from “lack of time” being an unsolvable excuse to, instead, being a problem that can be reasonably solved? Does this video help?

Video Transcript:

Ronda: If you would have told me that when I began the Kaizen process that I would have more free time, I would have not believed that. I can say that they are very self sufficient now taking care of issues. It leaves me more time to round on them more and get to know them and we discuss issues.

So, I have more time with them but not solving problems. We’re really talking through other things. It’s well worth the time invested initially to lay that backbone, because in the end, the positive results will outweigh the initial start up time that you have to put in.

Initially, the Kaizens would come in and they were more ideas and just teaching your staff how to work through problems, how to problem solve. Some of my technical staff, did not know how to problem solve.

Just teaching them those skills over time has been invaluable. I can focus more on the future, on where we need to be and work on the bigger issues in the department and strategically plan versus working on those day to day fires that were coming up. That’s been helpful, being able to do bigger performance improvement projects for our corporation.


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Now Available – The updated, expanded, and revised 3rd Edition of Mark Graban’s Shingo Research Award-Winning Book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement. You can buy the book today, including signed copies from the author.


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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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