Gettysburg Hospital Increases Time Spent with Patients

13 Jul 2012

The Gettysburg Hospital TCAB team applied a tried and true improvement tool, the Plan/Do/Study/Act (PDSA) process, to a problem identified on the TCAB unit. The team was spending too much time looking for equipment and supplies—“hunting and gathering.” They noticed a lack of organization and clutter that was impeding efficient care. To address this need to organize space, supplies, and equipment, the team went through the PDSA steps and used the principles of lean process referred to as the “5Ss: Making your space work for you.” The 5Ss stand for “sort,” “set,” “shine,” “standardize,” and “sustain.” The process begins with sorting by removing all items not needed for current operations, thus reducing blockages in the work flow while increasing quality and productivity. The next action, “set,” involves arranging and labeling needed items so they are easy to use, find, and put away. “Shine” encompasses keeping everything swept, clean, and in top condition, ensuring that supplies and equipment are ready for use at any moment. “Standardize” is the result of the first three (sort, set, and shine) being properly maintained. By working together and sharing ownership, the team successfully eliminated unnecessary equipment and reduced safety hazards, such as tripping over equipment. Because of this better organization, they were able to reduce the inventory of supplies stored on the unit—PAR level—and save money for the unit. The amount of time they used to spend hunting and gathering was reduced to less than 2 percent, giving them more time to spend with patients.