Rapid Improvement Model

The Opportunity

The Performance Improvement (PI) Division at OSF HealthCare, a part of OSF Innovation, focuses on the top system strategies identified by senior leadership. Working collaboratively with leaders, PI specialists develop plans to implement new services or initiate process improvement changes across the Ministry. While utilizing traditional performance improvement methodologies, a need to increase time to value and embed a culture of performance improvement was identified.

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The Solution

As a result, the PI team researched what top performing health care systems were doing to implement process improvement models among their employees and across their organizations. This analysis led to the development of the Rapid Improvement Model (RIM) that kicked off in 2010. RIM projects are strategically selected work initiatives that can be accomplished in 90 days or less, using local leaders trained in the methodology. The goal was to give leaders the tools they need to quickly tackle problems or concerns in their own departments and entities.

The Impact

453 RIM projects (as of Fall 2017) have been launched since 2010, pursuing everything from standardizing processes for after-hours medication dispensing to reducing transcription errors and speed to deploying neonatal transport teams. An average of 60 PI Leads are trained and 75 RIM projects are completed yearly across the organization.  

Use of the RIM model builds a culture of continuous improvement within OSF HealthCare; streamlines and improves work products, processes and services; and builds performance improvement competencies in leaders.   

“At OSF HealthCare, we enable our Mission Partners to be “continuous innovators” by giving them the tools they need to bring about change for the betterment of our organization and the people we serve."

-Becky Buchen, senior vice president of Innovation Operations, OSF HealthCare

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Creating "Continuous Innovators"

The Performance Improvement (PI) Division, a part of OSF Innovation, leads efforts to develop and advance concepts that will improve existing products, processes or services. These are ideas that can eliminate unnecessary waste and ultimately improve the quality of care. With now nearly 21,000 Mission Partners in 126 locations throughout Illinois and Michigan, the PI team works to ensure leaders within these entities have the tools to turn their recommendations for improvement into reality.

The Rapid Improvement Model (RIM), launched in 2010, supports the pursuit of continuously improving the organization. RIM projects are strategically selected work initiatives that are capable of being accomplished in a 90-day time frame, using local leaders trained in the methodology. 

The model was built after it was determined the previous approach to process improvement for some projects was too costly and too lengthy of a process. PI developed the RIM to not only give Mission Partners the tools to bring about change for the betterment of the people OSF HealthCare serves, it also helps the organization streamline and improve work products, processes and services, and cultivates leaders in performance improvement.

Employing the Rapid Improvement Model

Ideas for improvement can come from anywhere within the Ministry but requires supervisor approval with an identified project lead who can dedicate themselves to RIM training and running the project. Members of the PI team support the investigation, whether these project ideas have the appropriate alignment (leadership and project teams) and can be completed within the 90-day time-frame before final approval.

Once approved, RIM project leads participate in three days of training that occurs quarterly. During these sessions they learn to manage change, lead teams, collaborate with fellow Mission Partners, identify focused problems, brainstorm and implement the right solutions and sustain the change that’s been put into action.

There are two approaches to RIM project work. PI leads with RIM projects looking to improve a process that’s already in place would choose the FOCUS PDCA approach and those hoping to eliminate waste would choose the Lean methodology.

Participants are given access to education materials for reference and assigned a coach for the entire 90-day process. The PI team does follow up with the RIM project team six months after a solution has been applied. Completing a “Success Story” is key in celebrating successes and engaging others to participate in RIM Training.

RIM Success

PI leaders report that RIM trainees often use their newly gained skillset long after their projects have been completed to support sustainability efforts within OSF HealthCare. RIM leads also get the opportunity to build relationships with those who’ve gone through the training as well as with leaders within their own entities.

453 RIM projects (as of Fall 2017) have been launched since 2010, pursuing everything from standardizing processes for after-hours medication dispensing to reducing transcription errors. An average of 60 PI Leads are trained and 75 RIM projects are completed yearly across the organization.