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November 28, 2017

Your Kaizen Promotion Office is wrapping up the 2017 academic year on a strong note. We now have 268 Green Belt graduates and a whopping 747 Yellow Belt graduates for a total of 1,015 graduates. A big congratulations and thanks to everyone who has taken the initiative to learn about Kaizen and the Salina Regional Production System. While Lean is not straight up about money, it is good to know about our success with projects. As of today, we have 240 projects working, 13 projects in to our CPA for validation, and 495 completed projects. These projects have saved SRHC over $13.24 million dollars. That’s right, $13+ million saved through the diligent application of Lean principles!

Next year’s schedule will be pretty full, too. We have 4 waves of Green Belt training set up in our beautiful new Lean Learning Center. We plan on having 6 Yellow Belt training opportunities and with Yellow Belt and Green Belt classes at all our SRHC locations.

Remember that Lean is a philosophy, mindset, and a relatively small set of tools intended to improve the value added aspects of what we do for our patients, our customers, our friends, and ourselves. Lean will make your life easier! It is based on two underlying assumptions: Respect for everyone and the understanding that anything can be improved even if just a little.

January 26, 2016

Your Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) has gotten off to a strong start in 2016. Toni Schlabach (our registrar) assures me that classes are filling rapidly. This is especially true for our Yellow Belt class where it is not unusual to have 20-30 people in the class.

We think this is great, too. Larger classes have more energy and are lots more fun than smaller classes. If you have to complete Yellow Belt as part of your annual objectives don’t wait until the end of the year since your desired class may be filled already.

Last week we had a terrific Lean Lunch and Learn that featured the work of ED nurses Ashly Doering and Rhea Andrews. They have a great project aimed at improving the process for dealing with children in the ED. As you might expect, many children coming to the ED are scared and maybe have an injury that requires an IV or a blood test of some kind.

Ashly and Rhea have developed multiple methods of taking the scare out of doing blood draws. Thanks to them our smallest patients will have a substantially better experience than they otherwise would have. The Lean Lunch and Learn was extremely well attended and we even had to bring in more chairs! Completely filled up Conference Center East!

Your KPO recently had a chance to meet some of the leadership at Cloud County Health Center (CCHC). Cherri Waites (CEO) and LeRoy Dickenson (COO) invited us up to Concordia to tell them about our Lean Transformation and find out what SRHC can do to help them execute a successful Lean rollout at CCHC. We had a great discussion and hope to be able to get up there on a regular basis to offer on-site Lean training and assistance as we move to full integration of SRHC and CCHC. Our Lean family is growing!

Wrapping things up: Sign up for YB or GB. Get on board the Lean transition and don’t get left behind. Do some projects. They don't have to be big. In fact, “Kaizen” means “small change for the better” so keep your projects small. Many small projects is what we want — improvements done at the lowest level of the organization using the knowledge and insight of the people closest to the work. Do it!

Lean Blog

December 21, 2015

Congratulations to everyone who completed some kind of Lean training this year. We have over 635 people on the books as having either Yellow Belt (YB) or Green Belt (GB) training. This is a huge commitment by the SRHC organization. Before coming to SRHC I spent years as a management consultant working with many organizations, both profit and not for profit. I have yet to see an organization so thoroughly committed to improving what they do as SRHC. Lean was picked as the tool for process improvement because it is easy and straight forward. It also brings fast results through kaizen. Kaizen is small improvements made at the lowest level of the organization using the knowledge and insight of the people closes to the work. That is why it works — because workers typically have better insight into the problems and day-to-day issues than do managers. You are expected and authorized to make your work better.

We have changed Green Belt in a way that reduces Math Camp a little. The instructor (me) really enjoys Math Camp so it stays in the curriculum, but eliminates anything that experience shows will never be used by Green Belts in a healthcare environment. We have also added a couple modules that address team building and presentation skills. These modules are intended to hone your leadership skills. These modules also align very nicely with our newly developed Leadership Development Institute (LDI). If you have courseware that you think would be a good addition, please let us know.

Did you enjoy the Leadership Insight Series? I think everyone did. I’ve had lots of positive comments and want to thank all the people who either presented (all were excellent) and those who attended. It is really something that 60 SRHC employees would choose to give up an hour of their day to hear what our leaders think on the topic of leadership. Our Chief Operating Officer (COO), Joel Phelps, is the person who identifies the next speaker but I can, and do, make suggestions for his consideration. If there is someone you think might be a great speaker for the Leadership Insight Series, drop me a note and I’ll make sure Mr. Phelps sees your suggestion.

We continue to have outside interest in our GB and YB course offerings. We have had a few non-SRHC students and are developing good pull for our YB offering from as far away as Topeka. If you are not an employee of SRHC you will see that our course fees are extremely modest and designed to beat any comparables on the market. Plus, all instruction is done by an experienced Master Black Belt and includes coaching/mentoring as requested.

Next year will be as energetic as this year! 5 waves of GB training and 25 waves of YB training. We are planning for 500 new YBs and 50 new GBs in CY16. Plus, I have changed the topics for our Lean Lunch and Learns to keep them interesting and fresh. If you or your team wants to do a Lean Lunch and Learn, please let us know — it would be great.

Lean Blog

June 30, 2015

We have had a great year so far! The Lean philosophy and mindset are taking hold here at SRHC in a meaningful way. By the end of the year 2015 we will have about 150 Green Belt academic graduates and 250+ Yellow Belts. That means more than 400 people in our organization will have had a significant immersion in Lean tools, techniques, and methods. We are seeing results, too. Our Lean Tracker currently shows about 185 Lean/A3 projects either in work or done. The $$ totals are pretty impressive, too. The Lean Tracker is available for everyone at SRHC to use to record their A3 type projects. Our friends in IT are working to release Lean Tracker 2.0 to make the Lean Tracker experience even better. While Lean is not specifically about saving money, it is sure nice to know that we have $434,435 in potential savings this year alone! Your Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) has said all along that, while Lean is about improving our capacity to help our patients and make YOUR life easier, the return on investment will be very high, too.

Yellow Belt: For the rest of the calendar year we have lots of training opportunities for you and your team. Yellow Belt has taken off like a rocket and most of our classes are already filled. This is a fast moving, fun course that will give you Lean basics in one day. We regularly get positive student responses. If you want to get on board this year, contact Toni Schlabach to see which class best fits your schedule.

Green Belt: Once again, classes fill quickly so get with Toni and pick a class that best suits your schedule. Becoming a Green Belt is a significant career achievement and shouldn't be passed up. SRHC's Green Belt course has been pared and tailored to fit SRHC needs and requirements. There is only the minimum of mathematics that is needed to understand relatively simple Lean and Six Sigma concepts so don't be afraid. We think the course is fun and fast moving.

Something else that's coming up is SRHC's first "Lean in Action" symposium. We plan on providing training opportunities, poster presentations by ALL departments, and a guest speaker from Kansas City's KU School of Medicine. This will be held on 30 September and want everyone to attend.

Salina Regional Production System Growing

February 23, 2015

We have had a solid start to the new year with many signups. We have already had almost 80 Yellow Belt grads and we expect that they will go on to do great things for the organization. I just checked our new Lean Tracker and we’ve added dozens and dozens of new projects since the start of the new year! Thanks everyone! That means the Lean rollout continues unabated and also means – most importantly – that Lean and the Salina Regional Production System (SRPS) is becoming simply the way we do business here at SRHC. Keep up the great work! We are having a rerun of the Toast Kaizen video for Friday’s Lean Lunch and Learn and hope to see you there.

Brian M. Weisel, MPA, MPS, MA, MBB
Director, Quality Improvement/Lean
(785) 452-7094
bweisel@srhc.com

2015 Off to a Great Start

January 29, 2015

Great first month for your 2015 Lean rollout! As we head into Year 3 of our Lean/Salina Regional Production System rollout we can be very happy with what we have accomplished. We have had 118 people go through our Green Belt (GB) program that was taught in three different locations. In 2014 alone, we taught 86 courses to 276 students. These people have helped SRHC save/avoid over $650,000 in waste by executing approximately 140 projects. Great accomplishment! Now we have added a new Yellow Belt (YB) program that lays out Lean principles in a compact, fun, 8 hour session. In fact, we have had 30 YB graduates already! Dr. Alan Wedel and his staff took the course and so did our Salina Surgical Associates physicians and their staffs. The YB program is a great lead in to our more robust GB course.

We also have, thanks to the great work of our friends in IT, a new method for tracking projects in real time. Check out the “Lean Project Tracker” and see how well your department is represented. No project yet? Start one today! Your Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) is happy to help you do this. It will be fun to see which Departments have the most and best projects. Let’s get a little competition going!

We continue to get great pull for GB and YB training, so don’t delay contacting Toni Schlabach to get a seat in one of our classes. We are also getting some new instructors who will bring different viewpoints and perspectives to our courseware. It’s all good!

Brian M. Weisel, MPA, MPS, MA, MBB
Director, Quality Improvement/Lean
(785) 452-7094
bweisel@srhc.com

Busy Week Includes Yellow Belt & Green Belt Trainings

January 22, 2015

This has been a busy week for your Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO). We had a great Yellow Belt (YB) training session on Tuesday that was very well attended. Plus, all the students actively participated in the exercises which is what really makes the YB course fun. The YB course starts with Lean 101 and then goes on to the Toast Kaizen movie which our students really enjoy. Then we do the “A3 Thinking” class which gets everyone up and moving around. After a short lunch we launch into process mapping and process improvements. All this sets the stage for a fun exercise called “Alphabet Soup” which is actually a transactional simulation. Lots of fun!

Your KPO also had day 2 of our Green Belt (GB) program. This class, at 8 students, is a little smaller than we would prefer, but that means we can be more attentive to student needs and wants. We have moved GB training out of the little closet we had been in over the last 2 years and are now using the much nicer conference rooms.

Good news for your KPO is that Administration has approved our request for a new, permanent classroom. The new classroom will be located in the basement of the Santa Fe Medical Arts Building (SMAB). This will be a really nice classroom dedicated to your KPO. You won’t hear the sewage injection pump cycling every few minutes! It is really amazing that 120 GB students went through the GB course in the little GB training room!

I just received a call from Norma at the Norton County Hospital and she wants your KPO to make a presentation at the KPAM Spring Workshop on May 1st of this year. That will give us the opportunity to continue spreading the word about Lean in healthcare. In fact, one of our current GB students is from outside SRHC and drives up every Wednesday for GB class. I think we are on the cusp of being able to really sell our SRHC Lean competencies outside our four walls.

If you have any comments or blog posts, feel free to pass them on to Tami Corn.

Brian M. Weisel, MPA, MPS, MA, MBB
Director, Quality Improvement/Lean
(785) 452-7094
bweisel@srhc.com