Lean in Rhode Island Healthcare

New England Lean Consulting was honored to help lead a very important Kaizen at a Rhode Island Hospital. Nurses, doctors, patient experience professionals and members of the local community joined together to help better understand the ways in which the hospital could support new families, understand the resources available, and identify the best ways to seamlessly connect families to those resources. The event was co-facilitated by the hospital’s Performance Improvement and Innovation Team, the Department of Health and New England Lean Consulting.

Problem Statement: Many pregnant and parenting families are offered multiple community-based resources and support services both prenatally, immediately after birth, and at time of discharge. Neither the messaging nor the service delivery is coordinated, which leaves patients and their families confused, unsatisfied, and either under-engaged or over-engaged in services they may not fully understand.

Deliverables: Put processes and systems in place so that 1) those offering the services to families provide clear and consistent messaging; 2) all families, regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, and/or sexual orientation, are offered coordinated, family-centered, culturally competent services, as early as possible to ensure the best outcomes.

Outcomes:  Of the 30 process steps present in the Current State, the team identified 36 individual and significant action items, all of which had a direct positive impact on all True North Patient Values. All of these discoveries represented opportunities to better collaborate, to engage more families, to connect families to the right supports at the right time, and to close communication gaps that exist between the prenatal and postnatal caregivers.

Using Lean principles and guided by their commitment to quality, access, patient experience and affordability, the hospital continuously seeks to create more value for the patient through implementing changes to the process as identified during the Kaizen. The group developed a Future State that better serves new families by increasing access and awareness of the many programs available, and by taking steps to reduce the stigma associated with utilizing these services.

For those actions that could not be implemented during the Kaizen, action plans were developed to develop role-based standard work, communicate the plan (both internally and externally), and weekly meetings will occur that will allow the momentum gained during the event to be sustained to ensure a culture of continuous improvement is sustained.