Advocating for continuous improvement

When Kyle Shick moved into a leadership role, he got the chance to run a Rapid Improvement Model (RIM) project to improve medication use at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Illinois. Since then, the director of Pharmacy Operations has been an advocate for getting managers and directors trained in the methodology.

“I’ve encouraged all members of my leadership team to oversee a variety of projects,” said Shick. “We’ve maximized value while eliminating unnecessary waste. We have re-organized different spaces and completed time efficiency studies. We were also part of the effort to add 78 patient rooms to OSF Saint Anthony.”

Developed by Performance Improvement (PI), RIM projects are strategically selected work initiatives completed in 90 days or less, using local leaders trained in the process. PI, a part of OSF Innovation, launched this concept in 2010 to give Mission Partners tools to identify and manage challenges in their own facilities.

Nearly 600 Mission Partners now have the skills to improve existing products, processes or services Ministry wide.

How do RIM projects work?

Once a department or facility identifies an idea for improvement, a regional PI oversight committee must approve the concept. A project lead then dedicates themselves to RIM training and running the project.

During training, project leads learn to manage change, lead teams and collaborate with Mission Partners. They also gain knowledge to identify focused problems, brainstorm, implement the right solutions and sustain the change that’s been put into action.

“This education is valuable because many times, we don’t fully understand the details of our problems,” said Shick. “In RIM training, we learn to dive into the data, gain insights and focus our improvement efforts.”

Along the way, PI practitioners coach groups of project leads in the process of performing RIM projects. This allows everyone to learn from each other and form long-lasting networks of support.

“Project management isn’t easy. But PI’s willingness to help Mission Partners through this 90-day process has helped us gain valuable skills we can continue to use throughout our careers,” Shick said. “All of the solutions we’ve developed so far have been successful and more importantly, they’ve stuck.”

After RIM projects are completed, project leads have access to education materials and tools they can use well into the future.

The value of RIM projects

We aim, as a division, to be good stewards of the finite resources within the Ministry. And training Mission Partners to perform RIM projects allows us to undertake more opportunities without the need for more PI practitioners.

Having individuals like Kyle advocating for leaders to participate in this work, helps us spread the word that this is a great way to solve problems. It gives Mission Partners a stake in the improvement of products, processes or services that impact our patients. And we are helping leaders gain the competency of continuous improvement that they can apply in future work efforts.

Last Updated: February 9, 2022

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About Author: Tim Gullet

Tim Gullett has been with OSF HealthCare since 2003, serving in various roles across the Ministry. Currently, he is a Manager within Ministry Performance Improvement where he has worked since 2010. In addition to leading strategic initiatives, he is responsible for training on the core concepts of Performance Improvement as well as the oversight of the Innovation Portfolio Management Office (IPMO). Tim holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Management from the University of Illinois. Tim lives in Washington and is married to Christal. They have three children, Grayson, Kellen and Kai. In his spare time, Tim enjoys spending time with family and friends, camping, fishing and traveling.

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Categories: Innovation