One of the most depressing parts of this article was the fact that some hospitals believe they have to choose between quality of care and saving money. Why can’t you have both? This is what Seattle Children’s Hospital is helping to solve.
Before implementing the continuous performance improvement plan, nurses at the Children’s Hospital actually resorted to stealing and hiding tools and supplies needed for everyday use. When reading this, the first thing that came to mind was a hotel. It reminded me of taking supplies off of the housekeeping carts and storing them in the hotel room. So is this a proper way of keeping track of inventory? Of course not, so they implemented a plan similar to retail or manufacturing companies, where each nurse would have a fully stocked cart with two bins for tools and supplies needed for everyday use. When they used one bin, the next would be readily available. The empty bins would then go to a central supply office where the bins are scanned for restock or reorder. If this sounds oddly familiar, it should. The company most known for this inventory plan is Toyota.
I saw this plan up close and it really works well. I plan on working in the Healthcare field after graduation, so I shadowed a healthcare administrator at one of the Park Nicollet hospitals in Minneapolis (not at the Minneapolis campus with Nellie Munn). This inventory system is actually one of the topics you can still talk about with nurses and see how they needed time to get used to it, but highly prefer it over the other “steal/hide” system.
Do you think that Hospitals should start implementing methodologies of operations management?