Variation is said to be the enemy of quality, and we certainly aim to achieve the same level of high quality care for each of our patients. While patient needs are unique, there are certain processes that can be standardized for any patient, regardless of their condition or preferences.

Take, for example, the inpatient discharge process. When staff members in 3 West (Medical) got together to map out the typical discharge process, they found out that there are more than 40 discrete pieces of information or processes that need to be in place before a patient gets discharged. We helped the team, led by Dr. Clint Merritt, to analyze the problem space using tools such as Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA). By identifying problems that score the highest in terms of frequency (of occurring) and severity (of impact), the team was able to introduce interventions that had a significant impact on length of stay, costs, staff satisfaction, and even potential lives saved.