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TECHNOLOGY IN HEALTHCARE/PATIENT EXPERIENCE/HOSPITAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Focus 27

Expanding capacity without adding resources By Morteza Zohrabi

H

ospitals are constantly tasked with the challenge of increasing internal capacity without compromising existing budgets or the patient experience. To that end, many have turned to Lean and Six Sigma training as a collaborative means to seek out bottlenecks and streamline processes for the greater good. In June 2014, Integrated Health Solutions, a division of Medtronic, embarked on a project with William Osler Health System’s (Osler) Diabetes Education Centre at Brampton Civic Hospital, focused on freeing up capacity to meet growing patient demand. Osler’s Diabetes Education Centre provides essential educational and nursing services to help individuals and their families understand, control and manage diabetes. It offers various categories of services: nursing and dietitian support for Type 2 diabetes patients; counselling and insulin management for Type 1 diabetes patients; gestational diabetes management for pregnant women; and paediatric diabetes support. One interesting anomaly of note is that Peel Region has one of the highest prevalence rates of diabetes in Canada, 10 per cent versus the national average of just over five per cent, placing significant demand on the Diabetes Education Centre. Among other issues, the Diabetes Education Centre was experiencing a 45 per cent no-show and cancellation rate, taking time away from other patient visits and leading to longer wait times. Integrated Health Solutions worked with the Osler Diabetes Education Centre to tailor a solution that would increase the number of new patient visits and capacity for classes, as well as decrease the number of no-shows. The first step was to conduct a five-day formal Six Sigma training workshop for project teams comprised of dietitians, nurses and administrative staff.

The first step in the Integrated Health Solutions process was to conduct a fiveday formal Six Sigma training workshop for project teams comprised of dietitians, nurses and administrative staff. Over that time, the teams worked together to review processes, find bottlenecks within the system, and develop solutions. A key element involved mapping the value stream of the process from the patient’s perspective, assessing what worked/ what did not, how long each step took, and its inherent value. This mapping exercise is considered to be one of the strongest tools in Lean training.

A key element involved mapping the value stream of the process from the patient’s perspective, assessing what worked/ what did not, how long each step took, and its inherent value.

From labs to lives Continued from page 26

Researchers and physicians at Vitalité Health Network and Horizon Health Network in New Brunswick have partnered on a project aimed at ending the use of sliding scales to determine insulin therapy for diabetes. Evidence shows that the sliding scale approach in which regular insulin is given only in response to particularly high blood glucose levels can lead to erratic glucose control, resulting in patient risk and longer hospital stays. Researchers wish to enable the adoption of novel treatments including a nutritional insulin regimen based on individualized treatments and a collaborative model of care. About one in 10 residents of New Brunswick live with diabetes. About 20 per cent of all hospitalized patients have diabetes, but use almost 30 per cent of beds in the province. Developing better protocols for glycemic management will result in better www.hospitalnews.com

health outcomes for patients living with diabetes and ultimately health care sustainability in New Brunswick and across the country. In Prince Edward Island, clinician scientists are leading a study aimed at eradicating hepatitis C. Newly approved oral medications have proven cure rates of 90 to 97 per cent and minimal side effects. Previous generations of hepatitis C medications were given intravenously over long periods of time, with side effects including pain, fatigue and low blood counts. The next challenge is dissemination – getting these medications to everyone who’s infected in order to wipe out the virus in the H population as a whole. ■ Claire Samuelson, MA is a Policy Analyst, Research and Innovation at HealthCareCAN.

Following the five-day engagement, Integrated Health Solutions then worked with the team to develop an action plan outlining tasks and requirements. The program’s clinical services manager followed up on every action item to ensure the deadlines were met. This was facilitated through daily performance huddles for dietitians, nurses and administrative staff. Key action items included streamlining the medical reporting systems by merging three databases into one. This initiative alone saved over 2,300 working hours and allowed staff members to focus less on administration and more on interacting with patients. Another significant outcome was reducing redundancy by eliminating a 25 per cent overlap in what dietitians and

nurses were covering during patient sessions. This move reduced session times by 25 per cent with no negative impact on training or the perceived patient experience. Overall, the outcomes have been exceptional. New patient visits per full-time employee have increased by 33 per cent; gestational diabetes management capacity has increased by 20 per cent; and impaired glucose tolerance class capacity has seen a 45 per cent improvement. In addition, the no-show rate has been reduced from 45 to less than five per cent, allowing for more patient interactions with no additional time investment. Lastly, streamlining paperwork has saved 2,600 hours of team time annually; while data redundancy has been reduced by 60 per cent. To ensure a sustainable process, the entire project team earned their Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belts. This has provided the Diabetes Education Centre with the internal capacity to continue managing similar projects and enabled it to be much more effective in improving internal capacity on an ongoing basis. Perhaps the most important takeaway from this is that all of these outcomes were achieved while maintaining patient satisfaction rates and service delivery. Medtronic Integrated Health Systems was pleased to be a key community partner to Osler and looks forward to partnering with other health care providers to help address H the needs of their communities. ■ Morteza Zohrabi, MD is a Lean Sigma Black Master Belt and Integrated Health Solutions Lead Consultant at Medtronic Canada.

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Profile for Hospital News

Hospital News 2015 November Edition  

Technology in Healthcare, Patient Experience & Hospital Performance Indicators. Special MEDEC Annual Supplement.

Hospital News 2015 November Edition  

Technology in Healthcare, Patient Experience & Hospital Performance Indicators. Special MEDEC Annual Supplement.