Lean training puts ERMC staff on the cutting edge of healthcare process improvement

On Thursday, June 20, a team of 14 Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC) staff members graduated from an intensive six-month education and training course called Lean. Funded by a grant from the Michigan Center for Rural Health (MCRH) and led by Todd Sperl of Lean Fox Solutions, enrollment in the training was offered to all hospital staff and focused on developing intensive problem solving skills, as well as identifying and eliminating wasteful steps in workflow to improve overall hospital processes and patient outcomes.

Each of the four Lean teams was tasked with choosing a different need or issue within the hospital and finding intuitive, efficient ways to correct it. The teams then used the tools and skills they developed throughout the six-month course to create plans of action.

“Having the opportunity to participate in Lean training and certification has provided me with tools to eliminate unnecessary waste and improve processes while understanding and delivering value to our patients,” said Heather Schragg, Lean team member and ERMC’s Director of Patient Experience. “I’m fortunate to be part of an organization that allows employees to take part in meaningful initiatives such as this.”

Each group identified a different workflow issue within the hospital and worked to create a thoughtful solution. Projects included a surgical supply storage remodel, a reworking of the scanning and collection process of patients’ consent to treat forms, creating a standardized process for minor procedures within the hospital's specialty, lab, and medical-surgical departments, and streamlining the patient referral process to ensure patients have the best experience possible.

“The value of these four projects alone will make a huge impact on the facility,” said Todd Sperl. “Our main focus is on improving the patient experience; that’s the main result we’re after. All of the teams have done a wonderful job with that goal.”

All members of the Lean teams were awarded certificates of completion after presenting their final initiatives to the hospital’s CEO and President Tim Johnson, CFO Shari Glynn, and COO Kristine Allen. The projects will continue into the future and help Eaton Rapids Medical Center remain at the forefront of medical efficiency and patient care.

Article posted on June 25th, 2019.