Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Like Riding a Bike

Well, today I was on vacation and went for my first bike ride on a road bike. I must say that I was a little nervous at first since you hear about a lot of bike crashes. As a runner, I am used to being closer to the ground.

Getting ready for the ride felt similar to getting prepared for a day in the hospital - like what we expect for our patients going through our system (e.g., emergency room, radiology, surgery).

We put together "The Plan." Many support areas were involved in our preparation...Nutrition Services (my Clif Bar), Laundry (my clothes), of course the vendors (my bike and helmet), nursing (lotion for my face to prevent sun exposure) and X-ray (the local hospital) was on stand-by. We even had a "time out" with the "physician" (in this case my father-in-law) to see that we remembered everything for the journey.

We discussed the plan and mapped out where we expected to go and the route to get there. We discussed potential obstacles along the way and how long it would take to get through the ride (e.g., hills, gravel roads, crosswalks).

In our ER at St. Joseph Medical Center, we are working on decreasing the average patient length of stay by half. While it may take us several months to get there, we constantly look for ways to improve the patient experience and the overall processes. About 85% of our patients go home the same day so it is reasonable to expect that we should be able to decrease the time they are here with the same or better outcomes. We are looking at the entire process and experience from time of arrival until discharge. Many support areas are involved in making this happen.

Back to my ride...did I remember to say that we forgot the tire pump as our one member of our "medical team" had not had a flat tire in the past while on this ride? We had to stop our ride short. I bet the pump will be brought along in the future.

While we may not be prepared for every situation, one thing we know for sure: if we get a little bit better every day in our ability to anticipate and improve processes, we will surely improve ourselves along with those we serve. Just striving for a "cumulative" 1% improvement every day will show a 365% improvement throughout the year.

It is certainly not a failure if you do not achieve what you expect every time. Learning and building on that experience will make us stronger each and every day.

I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

  1. Scott - I saw your blog from Paul Levy's post. Very impressive to be mentioned there – he is an incredible leader to follow.
    As a local, someone who has been in your hospital as a vendor, a patient, and visiting friends I look forward to reading your blog, and appreciate St. Joe’s leading edge push to using social medias.

    St. Joseph’s is a great facility – you have excellent people really looking forward to your updates.

    Not sure if you are on yet – but you may want to tweet your updates on Twitter.