Quarterly reviews about slowing down, to speed up learning

2013-6-3 Slowing down to speed up

Taking pause. It’s one of the hardest things to do in our busy world. However, it’s also arguably the most powerful way to learn. Taking time to pause helps us to accelerate learning, by forcing us to challenge our assumptions, ask new questions, and make sense of our experiences.

As Saskatchewan works to make health care and care processes better every day, we have turned to the principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS) to implement a world class management system. A key element within a world class management system is the quarterly review.

The quarterly review is an intentional process that forces a system to ‘take pause’, every quarter. Quarterly reviews are closed sessions, involving the region or organization’s senior leadership team and CEO. Representatives from John Black and Associates (JBA), the lead consultants of the provincial Lean transformation efforts and the Provincial Kaizen Promotion Office, also attend to listen, learn, and challenge the group.

On May 3, 2013 Five Hills Health Region underwent its second quarterly review. Each quarterly review follows a standard agenda that serves to guide the reflective process. Each service line (including the Kaizen Promotion Office), shares their goals, progress and outcomes to date and then spends time discussing any barriers and lessons learned with the CEO and senior team. The afternoon is spent going to the gemba to tour each Service line area to see the work in action and speak to people who do the work on the frontline.

Five Hills currently has four service lines; acute and complex care, primary health care, mental health care, and surgical care. One highlight shared at the quarterly review was that the region has a 90% OR Utilization rate. While this is an excellent outcome achieved through focused improvement work, Five Hills is still not satisfied and is continuing work to achieve 100%. The region is also home to only the second Lean Leader in the province to be fully certified: Terry Hutchinson.

One of the big realizations that Five Hills had at this second quarterly review is that implementing Lean is more than implementing a set of tools, it is about changing mindsets — which is the work of leaders.

Following the review, Myles Cairns, the Director of Five Hills’s Kaizen Promotion Office shared some reflections on his region’s experience to date:

“I don’t think any of us truly understood just how hard or big the challenge was going to be a year ago, especially when you think about the additional stress and challenges of the work for the new hospital…the new hospital easily could be a full time job for most of the senior leadership team; however the FHHR team has accepted the challenge whole heartedly and I believe we are starting to see some rewards for the efforts. I know that there has been a lot of personal growth for everybody that was in the room because of the experiences over the last year.”

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One Response to “Quarterly reviews about slowing down, to speed up learning”

  1. Dennis Kendel
    June 3, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    The statement that resonated most strongly with me is that “implementing LEAN is more than implementing a set of tools; it is about changing mindsets”.

    The fact that this observation arises in the RHA which has the longest and most intensive exposure to LEAN thinking before JBA consultants were brought to Saskatchewan, should cause us to pause and reflect on the fact that “changing mindsets” will be even more challenging in RHAs that have not had comparably long or deep exposure to LEAN concepts.

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