Outpatient Surgery Magazine - Subscribers

Melt Your Job Stress Away - January 2014 - Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 136 of 142

Page 137 INFECTION CONTROL To do it, we used a process called value stream mapping. That may sound complicated — it's the term they use in lean and Six Sigma projects — but it's not rocket science. You just need a general understanding of the basic idea, which is to use observation to pinpoint value- vs. non-value-adding types of activities. It's logical and practical and chances are it's a tool your facility could use to unearth a lot of opportunities for improvement. As statistician W. Edwards Deming says, "If you can't describe what you're doing as a process, then you don't know what you're doing." What we knew was that there were a lot of delays, bottlenecks and work inefficiencies between central sterile and the OR. So the first thing we did was bring people together from the different departments, feed them breakfast and start to evaluate all the steps there are in cleaning an instrument tray. It was kind of like putting a puzzle together. We used a lot of sticky notes to document the process and map it out on a wall — all the nuanced steps involved in getting a dirty instrument back from the OR and returning it to the OR clean, and how long each step takes. That was how we began to uncover and eliminate the wasted time and energy that were gumming up the works. One fix at a time Eventually we had a complete draft of the process, which we then put through a period of validation. We said, "This is what we learned, this is what you told us. Do you agree?" Incidentally, we knew you don't go into the process with the idea that you'll fix everything immediately. First, you look for low-hanging fruit — things that are easy to improve. For us, that meant removing 4 large carts full of unused, extra or unusable equipment along with 7 large empty carts that were taking up lots of space. Then, by focusing

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