Interesting Visual Controls Example from a Hospital
Thanks to Luke for this story, which he allowed me to share:
I was touring a new client hospital with the Director of Inpatient Services today. She was explaining the renovations theyâ€šÃ„Ã´d done in the birthing suites. We were about to enter a room when my guide stopped so suddenly I thought sheâ€šÃ„Ã´d hit a pole.
On the door to the birthing suite was a postcard, a photograph of a lily rendered in deep blues and purples. The Director stood there for a moment, said â€šÃ„Ãºthat canâ€šÃ„Ã´t be rightâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and opened the door. Inside the suite were some packing cases for birthing class dummies, the stuff she wanted to show me. There was no patient in the room.
Later, remembering the postcard, I asked the Director what it meant. â€šÃ„ÃºOh, thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s our signal for Fetal Demise. If a nurse sees that she knows not to ask about the baby.â€šÃ„Ã¹
And these folks were concerned about â€šÃ„Ã²not gettingâ€šÃ„Ã´ Visual Management?
I asked why the signal was still there, even though the room is now used for storage. She didnâ€šÃ„Ã´t know.
If thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s a lesson here, I havenâ€šÃ„Ã´t figured it out yet. But itâ€šÃ„Ã´s interesting how we communicate, the big things and the little things.
A client of mine, on their own, implemented something similar, to put a visual sign (just a picture) outside a room where somebody had passed away, to alert housekeeping and others to be sensitive about the needs of the family and loved ones who might be there.
Just another example of how “Lean thinking” can support the caring side of a hospital, not just efficiency. Signs like this prevent awful misunderstandings or awkward moments that might ruin an otherwise decent hospital experience.