HealthTeam Nears Completion of Initial Lean Healthcare Project
Clinical Center pharmacy staff have been working hard to complete their first Lean healthcare project. The pharmacy staff: Dana Beaman, Scott Bonjour, Nancy Fontus, Sean Harwood, Lori Mann, Julie Pozega, and Yvonne Westwood aided by the Lean Healthcare facilitators Lynette Budenaers, Vicki Curley, Deb Doubrava, and Susan Dolby have arrived at some ‘kaizen bursts’.
In the previous few months, the group completed their value stream mapping of the medication refill process. Time studies were completed for each element of the process, which lead to the task of identifying steps in the process that had value or non-value added (waste). Following this step, the group identified those ‘kaizens’ – the quality improvement ideas which could remove the non-value added steps in the process.
The group’s next step was to complete a report for each of their kaizen bursts, or specific activities of quality improvement. This report, which identifies the problem, an analysis of the problem, the improvement options, and the implementation plan, is known as the A3 report. They came up with three opportunities to improve the pharmacy refill process: implement an Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) system, revamp the ‘will call’ area in the department, and optimize the number and locations of computers, printers and scanners. Each of these improvements has the opportunity to impact different steps in the process. An IVR system would allow customers to easily input all the required information for a refill via a single phone call. This would reduce errors, pharmacy staff time in retrieving and logging calls and emails and searching out missing information. Revamping the ‘will call’ area will make that pharmacy area more user friendly and decrease time a customer has to wait to retrieve their prescription when they arrive to pick it up. Scanners will allow pharmacy staff to scan all prescriptions and insurance cards. This will reduce the paper copies they have to store securely, and reduce a customer’s time in providing this information.
The final step in this Lean project, is to present the findings to HealthTeam administration for approval. If the improvement is implemented, the A3 report will be updated to include an evaluation of the improvements and a plan to replicate and sustain the improvements.
Keep your eyes on the pharmacy department and talk with the staff to learn more about the many changes coming.