PAPHR review analyzes shortfalls and successes

By Sarah Stone
October 24, 2014 - 12:30pm

A new review provides a way to assess and share the knowledge the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region (PAPHR) has gained over the year concerning Lean methodology. 

Lean refers to a management philosophy that emphasizes streamlining processes in a more logical and simplistic way, eliminating inefficiencies to save money and time.

On Thursday the two-day PAPHR Semi-Annual Review of its improvement work began with around 150 health care professionals and community stakeholders in attendance.

Cecile Hunt, CEO of PAPHR, said this is the first time they held this kind of review and feels “it’s [a] part of our learning journey.”

 “We can learn what worked well elsewhere and can we apply it and I think it’s these kind of events give an opportunity where really positive sharing can occur,” she said.

A work highlight she is most proud of is the region learning to include patients and family in the quality improvement.

“We’ve always said we’re about our patients and now we have the ability to demonstrate that and to listen to their voice in a very positive way.  It’s amazing the things that we have learned from our patients and small things make big differences,” she said.

One of the challenges she cites is trying to get all of the health staff involved in Lean - she isn’t alone in that hurdle.  Over the past several months some health care professionals across the province and Saskatchewan’s Opposition suggested nixing the multi-million dollar program. NDP Leader Cam Broten said Lean ignores concerns from front-line health workers.

“We need to do more work around education, helping them access the tools in a timely fashion and really giving them the time to do this quality work,” Hunt explained.

John Piggott, service line leader for Emergency Department Lean line, was one of the first people who gave a presentation on their Lean efforts.

He recognizes the concerns some physicians and staff have with parts of the improvement work.  He described Lean as a tool kit saying it’s one of those things where people need to spend time learning how it works and making the changes and following through.

“Once you made the change you would say ‘oh we did a good thing.  This is helping my patients.  This is helping me and my work,’ but the tough part is when you’re in the early stages people see it’s a bunch of work in an area they don’t understand really well and it seems kind of rigid,” he said.

So now, Piggott said, the Region needs to get a few successes under their belt and include more people to understand what it’s about and fit it into their everyday work.

“We’re very proud physicians are becoming engaged, patients, nursing staff, house keeper; everybody,” he said.

This two-day review is something Piggott finds the two-day review useful.

“It helps us reinforce it in each other to talk about it,” he said, explaining it’s a lot of work to put together all the information and can be discouraging if you don’t see the progress and meet goals.

In the Emergency Department one of the key goals is to reduce wait-times.  On an almost monthly basis it is operating over its capacity.

Through these Lean sessions they’re better identifying where the problem areas are and solutions to addressing the issue.  Piggott said they’ve discovered wait-times in Emergency are often longest for patients who may not need an admission immediately, but would like to be seen by a physician for a non-life-threatening issue.

To address this they are now looking at bringing another physician into the Emergency Department.

“We need to be able to have that additional third physician and where we’re looking at doing is the late afternoon and evening,” Piggott said.

 “We also want to make sure that any additional resources we put into the Emergency Department are focused on our target.  The last thing we want to do is add some resources and then not make an impact on our target of reducing our wait time,” he said.

According to Piggott, there are already some candidates in mind and he hopes to see them start in November.

The two-day review session will continue into Friday with more review and patient panels, attendees will also be visiting different departments in the PAPHR to see what they’ve done through Lean and closing comments.

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On Twitter: @sarahstone84 

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