Monday, June 28, 2010

Safety Huddles

Today we had our first Leadership Safety Huddle. Representatives from every department were asked to attend. It went very well. We had a chance to review:

- Serious safety events from the weekend
- Safety concerns for today and this week
- Good Catches: where we are doing well with safety

Everyone has a voice in safety - It is our expectation that each clinical and non-clinical area will follow-up with a Safety Huddle so every department on every shift of the week shares their concerns and solutions.

Here's some information on Huddles:

Daily Huddles:
A method to identify potential problems before they become reality.

Benefits of a Daily Huddle

- Awareness
- Problem Identification & Resolution
- Early notification of issues
- Culture of accountability for Safety
- Transparency

Our Top 3 Focus Areas:
1) Handoffs / Communication
(SBAR, 1:1 reporting on patient status when leaving/arriving with patient to patient care

2) Patient Identification
(Patient banding, specimen labeling and appropriate orders on patient’s charts)

3) Fall Assessments and Interventions
(Hourly rounding and Fall Prevention Policy enforcement)

I had a chance to round this evening. It started out when my relative asked me to visit a family member of a friend (patient number one). As I walked through the Emergency Department, one of our employees introduced me to their family as they now were a patient (patient #2). I proceeded to walk upstairs to visit the patient (#1) when one of our physicians shared his relative was in the hospital (patient #3). After seeing patient #1, I went towards patient #3 and you guessed it, another employee let me know she had a relative in the hospital (#4). I went over to see her relative and then completed my visits with patient #4. Whew...did you follow all that.

Within 60 minutes, I met 4 members of our community who were here for care and referred here for care. Each patient bragged about the exceptional and safe care they were receiving.

This is why I love what I do. Any one else doing similar safety huddles? Please share your story.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Visionary Award Winner - May

Congratulations to our Well*Life Team for receiving our May Visionary Award for their exceptional contribution to our mission.

Jeanette M. truly serve as an incredible leader. Jeanette and her team truly embody our mission, vision and values.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Launching Lean/Six Sigma Training

Running any business is a constant balance between the quality of your goods, the cost to deliver and the overall satisfaction of those you serve. In the past, I have discussed some of our key process improvement initiatives.

Tomorrow, we are launching our LEAN/Six Sigma training starting with 20 employees across our system. Our Steering committee met yesterday and approved projects to improve processes including Patient Throughput (managing patients through our system of care), Hospital Acquired Infections, Surgery Start Times, Revenue Cycle and Sterile processing.

Thank you to Lindsay, Russ and Rachelle for your many hours of work leading to our launch tomorrow. All employees will receive standardized DMAIC format (1) to propose improvements to our delivery system.


According to


The DMAIC project methodology has five phases:

  • Define the problem, the voice of the customer, and the project goals, specifically.
  • Measure key aspects of the current process and collect relevant data.
  • Analyze the data to investigate and verify cause-and-effect relationships. Determine what the relationships are, and attempt to ensure that all factors have been considered. Seek out root cause of the defect under investigation.
  • Improve or optimize the current process based upon data analysis using techniques such as design of experiments, poka yoke or mistake proofing, and standard work to create a new, future state process. Set up pilot runs to establish process capability.
  • Control the future state process to ensure that any deviations from target are corrected before they result in defects. Control systems are implemented such as statistical process control, production boards, and visual workplaces and the process is continuously monitored.

We will keep everyone posted on our progress. Please let us know of successful Lean / Six Sigma projects you have implemented.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thank You SJMC Foundation Board

I would like to welcome our new Foundation Board and thank Sam Sabaugh for his great leadership during his term as Chair. I would like to welcome Laura Foley as our new Chair of our Board. Laura most recently co-chaired our Healthy Food and Good Wine event with David Cimpl, her husband along with Dr. Norm and Jill Bamber.

Sam Sabough shared:

This may sound more like a rah-rah speech from a coach instead of a reflection. I want all of you to think of a time when you competed in a sport. I think that sport touches all our lives in one way or another. Each of us competes throughout life. We are challenged to be good providers, good shepherds, good leaders and good parents. And sport is about competition and more importantly, personal achievement. There is always personal and collective satisfaction when competing. It teaches us valuable lessons about life.

You don't have to be an athlete or athletic to admire the work ethic, the dedication and the risks of high school, college and professional athletes. As they move up the chain in sports, the personal responsibility and the devotion increases.

In sports and in life, it takes practice and hard work to achieve your personal goals or objectives. Some athletes, just like non-athletes, are gifted, but they still require the discipline and the dedication to reach the pinnacle of their talents.

Take for example the marathon runner. A marathoner doesn't just show up for a race. It takes daily training at different distances and varied paces for months. It's a grueling workout to prepare for a 26-mile event. There is a daily training regimen up to the day of the race. Even though the preparation requires supreme dedication, it doesn't guarantee that the runner will win or even finish the race.

Failure to succeed in sports can be compared to a setback in life. Sometimes the stigma associated with losing never goes away. It's haunting and it may take years to relieve the horrible feeling of loss. But the majority of athletes understand there can be only one winner, so the chance of being the "best" or "Number One" motivates them to continue the process of improvement.

There are guarantees in sports or in life. The outcomes can be unpredictable, and sometimes very surprising.

Our lives are unpredictable and sometimes puzzling, but we learn from each situation and it helps us move forward. Hopefully, it will teach us more about ourselves and how far we can push ourselves to succeed. Oftentimes we surprise ourselves with accomplishments that seem unreachable. The definition of success is different for everyone, in life and in sports.

Ask any athlete about competition and they can usually tell you about the close games in their careers. It's a personal thrill after giving your best effort.

Although we strive to succeed, winning is not always the result. Believe me, sometimes the best outcome in life and sport is "failure." If you haven't experienced failure, you haven't lived, because failure is how we learn (just ask any .300 hitter in major league baseball).

Disappointments define the character of a person. It's not how many times you fall, but the number of times you get up and keep plugging away. That takes stamina, determination and perseverance. Whenever somebody says that you "can't," a little switch goes off that motivates us to show somebody that "we can."

I heard an interview with a successful businessman. During the interview he was asked, "How did you become so successful?"

"Good decisions," he answered.

Then he was asked, "How did you make good decisions?"

"Experience," he replied.

"How do you get experience?" he was finally asked.

"Bad decisions."

By serving on the St. Joe Foundation, we are not asking you to choose between winning and losing. We are asking you to compete and to work hard on behalf of the hospital and the community.

Your membership on this board is set up to be a positive and a productive experience. Everybody wins in this game. When you give an honest effort to help this hospital, the hospital wins, the patients win, the physicians and nurses win, the community wins and you win. You win because there is no better feeling than being asked to help and then to succeed. You have joined a winning team, but it takes a committed effort from every player to continue a winning program.

Winners have positive thoughts and look forward to new challenges.

Everybody has a special talent. Some people can run fast, some can hit, some can shoot, some can rebound and some can play defense. As a member of our team, we are depending on your expertise and your practical experience. Don't be intimidated to ask questions or to volunteer answers. You have been asked to participate, not to ride the bench.

We all have something in common: our commitment to St. Joe. Before you walk away from this board, leave your legacy. Be proud of what you accomplished. Be certain you gave 100%. Nothing less and nothing more is expected. Your time on this board will come and it will go. You will be thanked for your time, but only you will know if you phoned in your performance or prepared yourself to finish the race.

Think like a winner. Every opportunity is another chance to compete. If you maintain your vision for St. Joe, then everybody wins (including you).

I will conclude my reflection with one last cliché that I picked up during my career regarding "success."
Success is getting what you want and Happiness is wanting what you get!

Everyone here deserves to enjoy success and happiness.

God bless you, God bless your families and God bless St. Joe Medical Center.
Dorene Shipley, our Foundation Executive Director Shared:

Last year was my first experience with the Missioning Ceremony at St Joseph.
It’s a wonderful time to stop and reflect on the important role that you play in our mission and the commitment that you will make to be a part of this board.

Serving on this board will give you the opportunity to become involved in the mission, vision and values of SJMC. You’ll be asked in a variety of ways to:
Come to know the importance of compassionate, quality healthcare that is safe and leaves no one behind, Financially support our goals, Open doors and encourage others to get involved
Be our advocates and ambassadors, Manage the investments of the foundation, allowing it to grow so that we can continue to give back, Provide governance, direction and leadership

But the real question for today is WHY are you here? And there are probably lots for reasons:
You want to give back to your community
You want to make a difference
You want to grow and develop your strengths,
You may feel that you can add value to the organization
You believe in what we do at St Jo & want to be a part it

Serving on this board allows all those items I just mentioned to be possible - but the real reason you are here is because of the patients that come to us for exceptional care. You want to make a difference in their lives.

Fundraising is never an end in itself: it is purposeful. It draws both its meaning and essence from the ends that are served. Fund raising is values based, values must guide the process, it must serve the larger cause.

This year, the Foundation’s cause included $366,000 of financial support.
Of that $55,000 went toward patients who could nor pay their medical bills
$12,000 was used to support for our employees in time of crisis
Funding was granted for Healthy Beginnings so that Mom’s & newborns get off on the right start. You Provided $18,000 in continuing education to the Staff
and purchased about $250,000 in equipment for the breast center, GI, cardiac & neurosurgery and the ICU.

You also helped raise over $500,000 and wisely managed the funds to earn over $1M.
But you do all of that, so that at the end of the day you can say that you have made a difference in someone’s life. That you have lightened the burden for someone and made it just a little bit better for them. You’ve created a better outcome in their care.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get in the Game

This morning, I had a chance to attend a breakfast for the Arthritis Foundation. We heard several powerful and personal stories on the debilitating impact of arthritis.

The keynote speaker was Bill Self, the University of Kansas basketball coach. To paraphrase part of his presentation: he shared how he is a basketball coach and that is his specialty. In a joking manner he indicated that most of us were specialized in our respective fields but it was amazing how many of us were also specialists in his field as a coach. He indicated he is okay with strong opinions, as long as people pay to go to the game.

This was a key message from him: If you have an opinion, get in the game. Become more involved and you will take greater pride in the game. Mr. Self's message pertained to being more active in the Arthritis Foundation to obtain a stronger voice, but this also relates to what we do in our organization and certainly how I feel in my role. I always appreciate strong opinions especially when it comes from those who care for and show commitment for our organization.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thank You to Those "Behind the Scenes'

Yesterday, my wife headed out of town for a two day (39.3mile) Breast Cancer walk in Chicago. That left me and our 3 kids. My first instinct was to stay out home and let people know I was going to babys....'Stop!' I meant 'serve my fatherly duty' as was quickly shared with me by Jane (aka #6) in my office.

We had a great day and it wasn't that far off (well maybe a little) from some of the experiences I have at work.

I started the morning with a 'team huddle' to discuss the days event (this means my 3 kids woke up early and jumped on me in my bed).

We discussed the plans for the day and they ran of. First, as I usually do, we grab a quick breakfast. I arrived in the Cafe...I mean my kitchen, and found that breakfast was not yet available. Along with the kids, I too waited for the eggs, waffles, pancakes and oatmeal to be cooked and served. My kids looked at me asking where breakfast was so needless to say, I became the cook for the day. In fact, I was a quick study and prepped lunch in advance.

Then we headed to take on the days events. I must say, it was certainly business casual at the pool. I then took charge in the deep end off the diving board. Others called on me to serve as a role model and take on what others could not achieve yet today...The Cannonball. I contacted Risk Management (in this case the Lifeguard) and he gave the thumbs up. Off I has been awhile since I've pulled that off but the troops seemed to enjoy my effort.

Tools, supplies and equipment along with having a voice in the organization are very important to our associates, volunteers and physicians and it certainly was the same at the household. I let my crew know that our transporter (me) needed to get some gas for the car and have it cleaned as well. I showed up to get it cleaned only to find out that I was the one who would have to do it. My kids were very helpful through the day, guiding me when I was off in the wrong direction (essentially this happened all day long). Al they asked for, in lieu of payment, was a smoothie for a hard day's work. The tradeoff seemed reasonable.

In the hospital, we have 2,000+ staff, volunteers and physicians who support our efforts. I certainly appreciate everyone's support in making our patient experience safe and first rate.

My day and weekend reminded me how much I have to thank the spouses, family and friends who support those 2,000+ 'behind the scenes'. For without them, our healthcare system would suffer and because of them, we are able to advance our efforts. Thank you.

Enjoy your weekend and stay hydrated.