Operational Improvement through the Human Experience

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Melissa Maday
Management Engineer
Alegent Health

Tonya Kogel
Management Engineer

Do we really understand what our patients go through in order to receive quality healthcare from our facilities? Using a tool called ethnography we can walk side-by-side with our patients and gain real time information that we can use to improve the patient experience. Learn how to gather more detailed information than available through focus groups or surveys.

We used a tool called ethnography to gather data in order to implement operational improvements and facility design ideas. Ethnography is the study and systematic recording of human cultures; also : a descriptive work produced from such research. We had two Industrial Engineers leading the project. The project consisted of following eight patients from Alegent Healths five metro hospitals in Omaha, Nebraska. We went to their home for pre/post interviews and then we followed them through admissions, labor & delivery, and dismissal. This is an opportunity to walk in the patients shoes and really see what they see and what they dont see. We also followed clinical staff in order to walk in the shoes of those doing the job. By the end of the research phase we came up with eight areas of improvement. Multi-disciplinary teams of clinical and administrative staff have been set up for seven of the eight areas. The teams are taking the data collected and determining what operational improvements need to be made. We are still in process of collecting results. To date, we have made the discharge process more consistent and implemented nap time so our patients leave feeling rested.