Media Contact: Ruth Cummins at 601-984-1104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Medical Center employees said they wanted improvements in workplace communication, respect and recognition for a job well done, someone heard them and took action.
Last fall's employee engagement survey administered system-wide revealed both challenges and opportunities in the key areas of communication, respectfulness, professional development, awards and recognition, patient and employee safety, and patient and employee experience.
Teams of employees recruited from across the health system began tackling them Nov. 26 and summarized their work April 4. Their vehicle was the 100-Day Workout, a nationally recognized quality improvement methodology that brings together multidisciplinary groups of employees to tackle performance, quality, safety or other issues. The results are being rolled out now, said Daniel Enger, director of operational improvement.
“Each team met with staff and received great feedback on action plans that have been implemented and sustained for moving forward,” Enger said. The workout is ongoing, he said.
Each team's focus and a sampling of their actions include:
Lab specimens should be labeled vertically with the barcode clearly accessible for scanning to ensure they match with the correct patients.
The team employed “Tube Dude,” a cartoon character brainstormed by Batson lab staff, to drive home in a fun way the message of placing paper labels on tubes so that their bar code can be scanned, ensuring that the right patient is connected to the right sample. That means caregivers at bedside must affix the label to the tube vertically from top to bottom, not horizontally, not twisted or wrinkled, and not pushed up to cover all or part of the tube's rubber stopper, said Stephanie Morgan, director of the children's laboratory.
It also means putting a label on a specimen tube in the first place. “Seventy percent of decisions on diagnoses and treatment, hospital admissions and discharge are made with lab values,” Morgan said. “Our mission is to have a positive patient ID through the whole process, from collection to results.”
The team also created a “Walk in Your Shoes” program that allows employees to see what it's like to work in other areas or occupations and how that can facilitate respect between departments. Also created was a “Coffee Talk!” program that brings together employees and senior health system leaders in small groups each quarter to discuss current events, points of pride and barriers to staff.
“The 100 Day Workout process helps us to engage our staff and our leaders in not just problem solving, but also in brainstorming new and creative ways of doing things,” said Liz Youngblood, CEO of the three adult hospitals and the metro area adult outpatient clinics. “Our employees are our greatest asset. Ensuring that we have an engaged and enthusiastic workforce is essential to being able to accomplish our mission.
“We have an amazing team that understands not just the 'how,' but the 'why' of what we do,” she said. “I think that really comes across in the outcomes of this latest 100 Day Workout.”
A story on the hows and whys of respect and disrespect at the Medical Center.
Earlier this year UMMC formed six focus groups to explore issues centering on respect in the workplace, an area cited in the Employee Engagement Survey as needing improvement. Focus group members - managers and non-managers from across the organization - gave their own definitions of respect and disrespect, and they detailed barriers to respectful behavior. The groups came up with suggestions to improve respect at the Medical Center, and not surprisingly, they included transparency in communication and regular interaction with and recognition by superiors.
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