Here, there, everywhere — it's nearly impossible to escape hearing or seeing news on COVID-19. Not all news is bad though; the human spirit is resilient and efforts are underway all around the globe to find a vaccine. Healthcare systems are being tested like never before. However, in the face of this adversity, many like Adventist HealthCare, are rising to the occasion.
Leveraging Operational Excellence to Respond to COVID-19
Based in Gaithersburg and founded in 1907, Adventist Healthcare is the first and largest healthcare provider in Montgomery County, Maryland. Their healthcare system encompasses four hospitals, over 1,700 physicians and medical staff, more than 5,500 employees and an integrated medical network of centers and facilities that service both Maryland and the Washington, D.C. region.
Once cases of COVID-19 were confirmed within the United States, the Adventist HealthCare Operational Excellence team jumped into action. They organized recurring meetings to bring together the process design and improvement teams with physician leadership and other multidisciplinary team members to share any and all information available on this new global coronavirus. Guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) promoted increased sanitation methods and hyper-awareness around physical contact, so the team knew they needed to update existing hospital and care center processes to protect their staff and patients.
Under the direction of Melany Rabideau, the team set up a project in Companion by Minitab to record information on all of their COVID-19 related processes in one place. Then they began reviewing and deciding which processes would need to be improved.
Creating and Updating Processes to Prevent Infection Spread
Once the Operational Excellence team had a good handle on which processes would need improvement and which would need to be created, they began their journey. With personal protection equipment in high demand and short supply across the United States, the team created a process map in Companion to establish a standardized method for collecting and sterilizing N95 respirator masks throughout their facilities, as a precaution to keep their staff safe if the masks supply became scarce.
As with any great process map, the team took time to detail out all the steps needed to fully complete the process (learn more about process maps here), while also including notes and a color key to help staff easily and quickly understand them.
Below is a digital version of their process map (see Adventist HealthCare's original process map here).
The process map was distributed appropriately throughout the healthcare system. However, as time went on, guidance from the CDC and Adventist leadership changed.
Thankfully, because the process map was created in Companion, anyone in the team could edit it as needed. The team loved this. They looked to Companion as "the go-to, one source of truth" and a "central repository" easily keeping all their team members on the same page and information in one place. One of their team members said it best: "Companion helps give organizations a sense of organization during times of chaos."
A huge thank you to everyone on the front lines during this global pandemic, especially those in the healthcare and medical community, from all of us at Minitab! We sincerely appreciate all that you do.