Safety Fair: It's All About Process Improvement

Story Number: NNS150102-06Release Date: 1/2/2015 6:46:00 PM
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By Jennifer Zingalie, U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Public Affairs

AGANA HEIGHTS, GUAM (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Hospital Guam hosted its annual Process Improvement Fair December 10th. Staff from approximately 18 departments showcased their best healthcare process improvement (PI) projects.

According to Cmdr. Dawn Mitchell, the hospital's Quality Management Department PI coordinator and department head, the fair highlighted how staff has improved quality, education, and safety of healthcare for patients. "The PI fair applies directly to Navy Medicine's 'culture of safety' standards," she said.

Submissions ranged from documentation standardization to decreasing emergency room wait time. Although, the hospital's commanding officer, Capt. Jeannie Comlish said it was hard to choose only a few winners out of the many outstanding submissions, the hospital awarded four projects. Mother Baby Unit was recognized for Best Presentation of Data, Branch Dental Clinic was recognized for Best Use of Methodology, Intensive Care Unit was recognized for Best Scientific Rigor and Family Practice was recognized for Most Improved.

According to Capt. Mike McGinnis the hospital's executive officer hosting the PI fair is a way to celebrate the progress the command has made. "It is important to demonstrate, between the departments and staff, all the great PI projects that are taking place so they can share knowledge on how they accomplished their improvements and learn from one another," he said.

Comlish agreed and added that PI can be accomplished in many ways. "Although we recently began using 4DX (4 Disciplines of Execution), a few of our entrants used other PI tools such as Focus PDCA (Find, Organize, Clarify, Understand, Select, Plan, Do, Check, Act) and TQL (Total Quality Leadership) to conduct their projects."

Recently, Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) traveled to several Military Treatment Facilities to emphasize Navy Medicine's Culture of Safety. The ultimate goal for Navy Medicine is to do what the Navy Nuclear program as well as Navy Aviation has done and become a high reliability organization.

A high reliability organization is successful because it is an organization that has been able to avoid disasters in an environment where normal accidents can be expected due to risk factors and complexity. This is accomplished through constant inquiries, organizational learning and adaptability.

"Our vision is to lead Navy Medicine in quality, patient centered care and we are measuring that using specific metrics," said Comlish. "Yet, conducting things like these rigorous PI projects are not only moving us towards our own vision locally but also setting us on the right path to in achieving the overarching goal of becoming a high reliability organization."

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