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Building leaders and leading change to support the transformation of health care

It’s 4:30 p.m. and 95-year-old Marge is being discharged from the hospital to recover at home after being told she was going to be discharged at 7:00 that morning. It’s not an ideal scenario, but a reality at times in the complex world of health, insurance and system design. With that, it is likely an issue taking place at multiple facilities within a health care organization.

As a result, health care systems must develop a way for their facilities to work together in identifying challenges, developing solutions and implementing best practices. That’s why Performance Improvement at OSF HealthCare developed the Regional Performance Improvement Model.

This model supports the utilization of data, methodologies to address identified opportunities, and a robust approach to implementation and sustainment to ensure the achievement of our Key Results. It also ensures the effective use of PI practitioners to support the top priorities of the region and drive the execution of the strategy.

As an example, one of our facilities in the northern region recently completed a project with the goal of discharging hospital patients by 11 a.m. At the same time, another one of our entities in the eastern region was looking to do this same work.

Through the Regional Performance Improvement Model, the eastern team reached out to the northern team to understand the implemented solutions. The idea was for the eastern region to determine how they could apply those ideas to their own facilities instead of starting from the beginning.

How it works

business professional gather in a room to discuss updares to a projectAs part of the model, an oversight committee is in place and consists of a chief executive officer, hospital presidents, a chief financial officer, a PI Champion and other senior leaders across care settings. As projects are proposed, the team is responsible for prioritizing projects based on impacts to key results, regulatory and compliance requirements and support of Operational Excellence plans.

“This not only ensures the PI portfolio is connected to the strategy and supporting achievement of outcomes,” said Laura Sarff, director of Performance Improvement. “It also ensures PI resources are allocated appropriately across the different care settings.”

After new projects are prioritized, leaders can expect project updates that outline status and progress to a timeline. The oversight committee also reviews metrics for each project at specific intervals after completion to support the sustainment of metrics. This new model was first tested in the eastern region, covering Pontiac, Bloomington, Urbana and Danville.

“Historically, our PI practitioners were site-specific,” said JR Elling, strategic program manager for PI in the eastern region. “Now, we have the flexibility to move Mission Partners within the region to where they are needed most as well as the ability for one PI specialist to run a regional project for all of our entities. This allows for sharing the PI expertise across an entire region.”

The oversight committee also plays a role in supporting the advancement of the Rapid Improvement Model (RIM). This is done through the identification of RIM project ideas, prioritization of projects and determination of leaders to facilitate the RIM projects. This fosters the culture of continuous improvement through competency development in our leaders.

Continued collaboration

One of the key components of this model is the shared participation of leaders across different care settings. This allows for the insight needed to collaborate and best meet needs across the care continuum.

The Regional Performance Improvement Model has been implemented throughout most of our Ministry. We continuously collect feedback to allow for iterative changes to the model as it advances.

In the long term, to support the success of the model and to continue building the culture of continuous improvement, we are measuring outcomes achievement, adoption of RIM and value of the model.

Last Updated: February 10, 2022

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About Author: Kelly George

Kelly George, MHA, RD is the Vice President of Performance Improvement for OSF HealthCare. In this role, Kelly is accountable for providing leadership in the deployment of improvement methodologies throughout all clinical and operational functions across OSF HealthCare, as well as other methodologies and/or frameworks that support innovation. In addition, her responsibilities include supporting execution of Ministry strategic initiatives. She assures adherence to best practices in process improvement and innovation methodologies, project management and value recognition while maintaining up-to-date expertise in industry process improvement innovations.

Kelly has been serving OSF HealthCare since 2002 in varied roles including Outpatient Dietitian, 6 Sigma Black Belt, Managing Master Black Belt, Program Manager and most recently in the role of Performance Improvement Manager. Kelly received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She went on to complete her Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kelly is married to Brian and they have three children, Owen, Colin and Holden. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family, running, reading and traveling.

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Categories: Innovation