VC Notes Archive Office of the Vice Chancellor
Friday, April 21, 2017

Send Me Your Good Ideas

Published in VC's Notes on April 21, 2017

Send Me Your Good Ideas

Good morning!

I enjoy reading the comments and questions you submit to me each week through the VC Notes portal. As you know from reading my monthly Q&A columns, your submissions run the gamut of topics. 

Occasionally I receive a comment presenting an idea about how we can do things better. The suggestion may be a tweak to an existing process or a whole new way of thinking about a task.

I want you to keep sending all the questions and comments that you've been sending. But I'd especially like to hear about your good ideas to help us improve.

Ideas for reducing costs, cutting out waste or sharing resources more efficiently. Ideas for improving the quality of our services. Ideas for tapping into new sources of revenue. Ideas for enhancing the experience of our patients and our students.

There are many brilliant minds here at the Medical Center. These “smarts” are not limited to the faculty or a particular pay grade, but are pervasive throughout our workforce. 

In fact, no one knows more about where we can find additional dollars or reduce the “hassle-factor” for those we serve than each individual who is doing the work.

I don't really want to have a good idea campaign that has a defined beginning and ending. My goal is to keep a huge, idea-generating machine running continuously. 

Of course, this search for good ideas already is happening in more formal ways throughout the Medical Center and other UMMC locations. The hospitals have been engaged in the “100-day workout” methodology for several years, yielding quality and efficiency gains. Our value analysis teams are brainstorming ways to save on procurement. Leaders in Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital have begun soliciting suggestions from their respective staffs. And I was excited to read in eCV this week about The Viper Room in Grenada, where employees come together to hash out solutions and identify opportunities.

The payoff for such a modest investment of time and energy can be dramatic. Recently I learned about an initiative conducted at the University of Iowa medical center. Through ideas solicited from employees, they “found” $100 million in savings and additional revenue.  Another dividend: This activity is perhaps the best and certainly the most productive way we can enhance employee engagement.

I want to emphasize that no idea is too large or too small, and they can come from anywhere, particularly from patient care areas, classrooms or research labs. Sometimes these ideas come in disguise as complaints - from our patients, our students and our co-workers. These complaints are often the doorway to opportunities.

So, start sending me your good ideas. I'll organize a diverse group of employees to begin vetting them and seeing which ones pan out. After a few months, I'll share the best ones right here in VC Notes. (For that reason, it would be helpful if you would include your name with your idea submission.)

We are on a journey from the way we used to do things to new ways to deliver services with greater quality at lower cost and with an enhanced customer experience. This is a heavy lift and I thank each of you for shouldering your part.

Our strength is our singular vision and passion. Innovation - taking advantage of our own intellectual capital and borrowing the best ideas from others - will let us invent the future we all want, and that's a stronger UMMC and A Healthier Mississippi.

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