Leveraging Kaizen to Achieve Continuous Improvement

Leveraging Kaizen to Achieve Continuous Improvement

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe Kaizen and how it can help you execute improvement work
  • Recognize the role that staff empowerment plays in sustaining improvement

Too often in healthcare we make an improvement, only to see behaviors and performance revert back to pre-improvement levels as time moves on. What are the causes of this? Why is so much time and energy put into the change, but not into the sustainment? Previously my colleague, Dr. Mark Parker, detailed the Model for Improvement, the framework to structure improvement in a goal driven way. Today, I would like to build off of that and explore Kaizen, a key driver within Lean management to execute and sustain improvement. One of the central components of Lean methodology, Kaizen is simply translated from Japanese as “change for the better.”1

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Do You Genuinely Understand the Problem You Are Trying to Solve? The Model for Improvement

Do You Genuinely Understand the Problem You Are Trying to Solve? The Model for Improvement

Learning objectives:

  • Recognize early barriers that can prevent interprofessional teams from making sustainable improvement
  • Gain insight into an established framework to organize and systematically align interprofessional groups in shared improvement goals

Traditional research is about discovery. Quality improvement is about… improvement. We need to study the evidence for best practices and apply them consistently in our own healthcare delivery sphere in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients. How do we get there? Too often, we see opportunities for improvement and we struggle to organize the work in a systematic, goal driven way. We bog down in a series of efforts that center on fixing imperfect processes without clear, measurable outcome targets. We sense we have a problem, but we don’t know our true baseline data and we don’t develop a measurement plan or a methodology to guide us to our goal.

Improvement science provides us with a way out of this rabbit hole. One simple and effective model to understand the problem we are trying to solve is promoted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and was developed by Associates in Process Improvement. Appropriately, it is called the Model For Improvement (MFI).1

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