What’s different about a Health Care Home practice from a very good traditional general practice?
Well, one example is the focus on creating maximum efficiency in all it does as this provides for an improved patient experience, a higher level of job satisfaction for staff and just better business effectiveness. An efficient, financially viable practice is a sustainable practice.
The Health Care Home model has drawn from experts in LEAN methodology to shape our continuous improvement programme for practices. We had a team from Boeing in the States come and work with us, reviewing step by step what we did in every day practice life and how we did it. And where all the waste was!
Practices adopting the model are supported to review their patient flow, systems and processes and facility design to ensure optimum efficiency, saving them time and money. For example, practice teams have found that standardising the equipment layout in each consultation room saves time in searching for equipment. In addition, visual displays and developing a culture of continually asking ‘is there a better way to do this?’ have made a real positive difference to their working day and patient experience.
We support practices to achieve this in a number of ways
The morning huddle is a surprisingly simple idea that gets some big gains in efficiency for a practice, whatever its size. Every morning the whole practice team gathers for a 15-minute review of the workload for the day ahead. It provides staff with the opportunity to discuss particular patient needs, such as overdue smears or repeat bloodwork. It’s also a chance to proactively deal with unexpected issues, such as if a team member is away sick. The team can use the morning huddle to redistribute that team member’s work, rather than dealing with tasks on an ad-hoc basis — or not at all.
It can even be used to discuss more lighthearted agenda items, such as wishing a team member a happy birthday or offering congratulations on an achievement.
Teams are generally very enthusiastic about the morning huddle, reporting that it is a great way to develop teamwork and communication, as well as build a positive team culture.
Visual displays of quality performance provide a focal point for discussion and action planning. Typically teams will review the display at huddle, highlight areas for attention or celebrate great care. Our teams report that having the outcomes of their care easily visible to everyone in the practice helps them to stay on track and troubleshoot problem areas early on.
The outputs of a problem solving session at Tokoroa Medical Centre
A morning huddle at Northcare Pukete Road
Can we help?
We have partnered with LMAC, Lean and Continuous Improvement experts to create a bespoke LEAN programme based on our learning and designed with practice staff. We have numerous examples of how time can be saved in a practice, waste can be eliminated and care can be improved. And also understand how difficult this can be to achieve when you still have patients to see and manage! Contact us if you are interested in exploring how we can support you to achieve the gains we have.