With our 10th Annual Northeast Conference just eight days away, I’ve taken a little poetic license with the conference theme, Putting People First, to highlight just one of the outstanding teams who will be presenting at the conference:
The “ideas of many” built from cardboard and brown paper.
Two weeks ago I had the honor of attending the ribbon cutting for the West Suburban Cancer Center in Needham, Massachusetts. This innovative center was conceptualized in the spring and summer of 2012 by a diverse, dedicated cross-functional team of approximately 30 docs, nurses, technicians, physicists, architects, facilities engineers and administrators using a technical method referred to as Production Preparation Process, or “3P”. While the structured, rapid brainstorming and prototyping methods used to design the new center design were important to the success of this large project, far more crucial were two principles that guided everyone’s thinking:
A single-minded Patient First principle focused everyone’s thinking on the best possible experience and outcome for the patient and patient’s family rather than just maximizing local efficiencies of the providers. Patient focus groups provided an essential perspective that kept the team grounded. Using tabletop models to simulate the patient flow, in one instance reducing patient moves from twenty-two to five, the team was guided by the philosophical position that the needs of the customer must come first.
The project’s mantra, “The ideas of many are better than the experience of one,” challenged team members to collaborate in a way that encouraged everyone’s ideas. With encouragement of BIDMC management and support from facilities and architects, the new center was actually designed by the people who work in the space. In the words of one team member, “We ended up with a design that no one could have foreseen when we started the project.”
As I entered the new cancer center and surgical pavilion, I recalled the original cardboard and brown paper structures that the team had built in order to test and improve their design. At the entrance, I was greeted by one of the physicians who participated on the 3P effort. She remarked excitedly, “This new design really works!” That excitement was shared by other team members who attended the grand opening, and, I must admit, by me also. The technical achievement was outstanding, but would never have been possible without the focus on people.
There is so much more to this success story than I can relate in a post. I hope you’ll join me on October 1 and 2 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts to hear more from this team and others who are ‘putting people first'. Still time to register and recharge your Lean efforts.