Celebrating & Sharing Continuous Improvement at Mary Greeley Medical Center


mary-greeley-medical-center-squarelogo-1448978534709I really enjoyed spending the last two days at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa the last two days.

On Tuesday, there was event planned by MGMC and the Iowa Lean Consortium based on the “Kaizen Live!” site visits that Joe Swartz and I organized the past two years at Franciscan Health.

Mary Greeley has made great progress over the past few years in creating a culture of continuous improvement that aims to engage every employee and staff member in continuous improvement.

They've also been a KaiNexus customer the past few years and it's an integral part of their improvement approach.

You can hear a podcast I did with them a few years ago about their first “100-day workout” that KaiNexus had helped them with:

Podcast #201 – The KaiNexus WorkOut Process at Mary Greeley Medical Center, Improving Cost and Patient Care

Later in 2014, I helped them with a “Kaizen Kickoff” workshop, where we spent a few days setting up a pilot continuous improvement methodology in a few departments, using KaiNexus software to track their ideas and improvements.

You can also watch this recorded webinar where Ron Smith and Karen Kiel-Rosser, from MGMC, talk about their Lean journey and how they spread continuous improvement from the original pilot areas to the rest of the hospital:

How Leadership Commitment and A Systematic Approach Spread Improvement

My post about highlights from the webinar:

My Post for @KaiNexus: Webinar Highlights from @MaryGreeley Medical Center

Tuesday, we had people attending from other health systems, state government agencies, and manufacturing companies. These lessons are transferrable across industries, in all directions. The leader behaviors that help a culture of continuous improvement are very consistent across these settings.

In the morning, we were in the Mary Greeley auditorium (and we went to the “gemba” in the afternoon in three hospital departments).

After their CEO, Brian Dieter, kicked things off, I gave a talk about aligning improvement with goals and strategy — finding a balance between everybody working on what they want to work on while also aiming to align improvement with departmental and organizational goals.

My colleague from KaiNexus, Jeff Roussel, captured some moments and quotes on Twitter:

Then, we heard from improvement leaders from Mary Greeley.

Karen Kiel-Rosser, their VP of Quality, mentioned that initial Workout:

I agree with her that there are no quick fixes for culture! It takes time, leadership, and effort!

She also mentioned their monthly “day of sharing,” which takes place the first Friday of every month, where staff share various improvements they have made.

Our KaiNexus team got some praise from her:

Ron Smith and Eric Adelmund also shared some key lessons about how leaders help create an environment that encourages staff participation. People want their voices to be heard. They want to improve their work and make an impact.

An 80% implementation rate is fantastic:

But they also work together on cross-functional and value stream improvements.

We also had a panel discussion with managers and directors from areas including supply chain, a surgical unit, HR, and oncology.

In the afternoon, we did four “gemba visits” to departments that are high achievers with Lean:

  • Cardiopulminary services
  • Laboratory
  • A medical/surgical inpatient unit
  • Oncology

I think I'll share highlights from the gemba visits in a future post.

On Wednesday, I was able to participate in Mary Greeley's quarterly leadership retreat. I led an education session and discussion about Lean and quality improvement topics, including:

  • Mistake proofing
  • Empowering employees to speak up and point out safety problems
  • Focusing on the process and being proactive rather than blaming employees after a problem occurs

I might share some thoughts and highlights from that discussion, as well, in a future post.

Thanks to Mary Greeley for sharing the progress they've made and for being such a great partner with KaiNexus.

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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.



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