KaiNexus Update – User Badges & Sharing Improvements Widely


kainexus-logo 250wThe team at KaiNexus (where I am the “chief improvement officer”) is always improving. I want to share a few of these improvements, as our CEO/co-founder Greg Jacobson, MD and I are presenting today at the annual conference of the Texas Association for Healthcare Quality.

We have two really cool new features: 1) virtual badges for individual users and 2) the ability to selectively share improvements outside of your own organization.

Badges? We need stinkin' badges

Unlike the famous line from the movie “Blazing Saddles” (“we don't need no stinkin' badges“), our users can now earn badges that give them a virtual reward for their improvement efforts. If you're the type of person who writes reviews on Yelp or checks in via Yelp or foursquare, you know about these badges and the small dopamine burst that might be created.

When an individual KaiNexus users reaches certain thresholds, the system gives them a notification and a virtual badge appears on their user profile.

  • Submitted 1st Opportunity for Improvement (OI)
  • An OI I submitted resulted in a change (note: this should happen maybe 70% of the time or more)
  • 10th, 25th, or 50th OI

The badges are in color when they are earned. Users can see which users in their organization have participated the most in the Kaizen process — they know who they can reach out to for help and advice.

The user also gets an email notifying them of this virtual reward – in this case, our CEO, Greg, gets to be a user of KaiNexus when he works as a night shift emergency physician (his organization is one of our customers).

See below:

Many of our customers talk to us about ways they can give recognition and thanks for improvements via our system — not focusing on big financial rewards, but building on the intrinsic motivation that is so strong in healthcare professionals.

Sharing Improvements Beyond Your Organization

In the KaiNexus system, we are big believers in transparency. People within a hospital or health system can see every active and completed OI – to facilitate sharing and learning.

Many of our forward-thinking customers (and prospective customers) have asked about sharing ideas with OTHER KaiNexus users (from other organizations).

We now have the capability for users to set a particular completed OI as one that is shared and searchable by users at other KaiNexus customer sites. Again, this is optional and the transparency is an “opt in.” We think customers will freely share ideas related to safety – things that will definitely help other organizations.

In the Kaizen approach, there's no shame in using the ideas of others or “stealing shamelessly,” as Norm Bodek always puts it.

But, stealing shamelessly doesn't mean “copying blindly.” Our software allows a user to take one of these shared OIs as the  starting point for their own local OI. They can (and should) adapt the idea, not just adopt it.

We hope as the use of KaiNexus spreads beyond our initial nine customers, that this sharing becomes even more powerful and helps facilitate widespread healthcare transformation.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts and reactions. If you'd like to talk with us about how KaiNexus can help “make improvement easier” for your organization, let us know and/or check out our website.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Both ideas are great. The badges encourages employees to set goals.

    Who would you like to play football for, the New York Giants or the Kansas City Chiefs? If you want to be on a good team, you would pick the Giants. Companies that share OIs should be able to attract the best applicants. They are the best teams. Unlike football, they get to draft first.

    These are trying times for employees. Working for one organization is a thing of the past. You never know when you will be a job seeker. Resumes are obsolete. A portfolio of past completed OIs is much more impressive.

    When an employee submits an OI that leads to a solution or an employee submits a accepted solution to an OI that is not a trade secret, that employee should be given written confirmation of his effort to put into his portfolio. Something to take to a job interview. This procedure is a win – win situation. It is difficult to quit a team that respects you enough to help you find a better job.

    • Great comment, Kevin. I love your ideas about the employees getting a copy of the OI for their own portfolio. How true that people are less likely to want to leave an organization that makes them more marketable – respect for people, indeed!


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