our approach | We at Sherbrooke began—once
again—by asking lots of questions. We felt that it was critical to understand
the issue from the patients’ perspective. So we conducted extensive
patient research to better understand what their expectations of service
were—as well as the consequences of those expectations not being met.
We also listened closely to the thoughts
and observations of internal staff in a series of focus groups. Their
insights and perspectives added essential detail to our understanding of the
factors contributing to the problem.
The focus groups revealed that patients
had highly specific expectations—and that there were clear consequences of
those expectations not being met. We also uncovered numerous process flaws,
within and especially between functional groups and units.
We understood that a real solution would
only be possible through the active participation and commitment of all
departments involved. So we organized and facilitated a series of Work-Out
sessions with cross-discipline teams. These sessions tapped into the
problem-solving power inherent in the hospital staff. Our facilitators
guided internal teams as they identified problem areas and developed
specific recommendations about how to improve the process.
time the Work-Out sessions were completed, the participants had outlined the
parameters and prerequisites of a new scheduling, registration, and billing
process. We established more effective communication and decision-making
procedures, and a new "recovery" procedure for those inevitable—but
rarer—occasions when processes broke down.