Fueling your Organization's Moonshots

Healthcare moonshots were put in place to achieve the near impossibility feats that have been man’s clamor for decades. There are various healthcare moonshot goals that drew from some of the project successes of Apollo 11. Those successes included the Mind Set of SQUEEZE -(S)afety, (QU)ality, (E)ffectiveness, (E)fficiency and (ZE)st, and principles of Kaizen management.

In this article, we discuss how certain factors can help achieve transformation in your organization that will result in the successful realization of healthcare moonshots. What will be the fuel to drive these rockets in your organizations?

Continuous Process Improvement

Process improvement streamlines the workflows that get many things done for clients. Among the outcomes of continuous process improvement are improved efficiency, greater profit, and increased patient satisfaction. Two of the main process improvement techniques are lean and kaizen methods which aim to add value and reduce waste in the organization. These processes have paved the way for other companies like car manufacturing industries to achieve their own moonshots. The healthcare sector can likewise benefit from these proven strategies that will provide a flowing stream of fuel to launch that rocket for organizational moonshots.

Lean management is the process of continuous improvement by making small changes to eliminate waste along the entire value stream wherein more value is created for customers with fewer resources.  Lean is not just for manufacturing companies it works for service organizations as well, such as the healthcare sector.

The Apollo 11 space mission used lean management in many ways. One way was to transform their existing modest computer system as big as an entire room to a lightweight computer system, which served as their guidance system that facilitated safe landing. However this didn't happen overnight, it was a result of having a goal and making a series of changes to reach that goal. This is how a thriving healthcare system should operate.

There are a number of improvement areas in healthcare that can be examined to increase the productivity and engagement of management and employees. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • In the handling of paperwork, how are policies and memos circulated? Are you still using traditional email or disseminating information via cork board?
  • How do you monitor your employees’ performance down to the individual level? Do you rely on performance evaluations where there might be evidence-based shortcomings?
  • Was there an instance where an employee was deemed incorrectly recognized by management? 
  • Have there been situations when employees leave because they wanted to be treated fairly or they were not properly recognized?
  • How do you handle errors?
  • How do you manage your organization’s data? 

Reduction of Waste

Another area to be examined is looking at time spent wasted in any of the processes that are continually performed in your organization.

  • Documentation procedures.
  • Redundancies such as keeping multiple paper copies of policies or procedures in different areas, so they are accessible.
  • Are there frequent delays and interruptions when performing process work?
  • Are there too many requirements for getting paper work completed or is the procedure too complex? Brainstorm with the team ways to simplify and shorten the process.
  • Does the management handle management tasks correctly or are they too pre-occupied with administrative duties?
  • Is there a need to reduce administrative burden to allocate more time to real patient-oriented tasks?

Financial Resources

You should also look at making the most out of your financial resources.

  • Do you invest in so-called improvement projects without understanding if the improvement justified the cost or without being able to measure the improvement?
  • Did you put resources into the purchase and use of a new technology that was under utilized or did not provide a significant amount of improvement?
  • Are there evaluation measurements for the training you invest in, to make sure the investment was warranted? Do those measurements include the time and effort that it took to train your employees initially, any retraining that needed to take place, or the time spent away from patient care?

With all these questions piling up, you have to start thinking outside the box. Maybe it is time to look for a change agent. Sit back and think about this for a moment. You could be focusing on instituting process improvement measures for an existing process when in fact what your organization really needs is the creation of an entirely new process.

Remember the transition from fee-for-service to a value-based contracting model that we currently use in healthcare delivery? This is an example of a creation of a new process or system that resulted in overall reduced healthcare cost, shorter hospital stay, and more efficient care delivery through the fostering of collaboration as facilitated by this current system.

Process improvement initiatives come in handy to those who seek it, but the cost you have to pay may be high without the corresponding results that you expect.

We at ManageUP desire to produce positive change and healthy patient outcomes. We have created a platform that will help organizations meet their moonshots through an organizational transformation that would ultimately lead to a culture of celebration.