Tools for Strategic Healthcare Operation Improvement and Change

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Richard Long Jr.
Vice President, River Valley Pediatricians

Linda Long
Professor, University of Cincinnati

Participants will analyze a healthcare problem in teams with the use of detailed information and guidance on five strategic tools. These tools, affinity diagram, fishbone diagram, force field analysis, flowchart, and process decision program chart provide a vital strategy to support problem solving in the present culture of mandated change.

The effective healthcare organization will require demonstration of critical skills that promote flexibility in an environment of nationally mandated rapid change. Employees will need to be capable, individually and in teams, of testing first impressions, making important distinctions, making decisions based on facts, checking the viability of solutions, and redefining strategies. Potential problems must be anticipated and solved before they become problems, thus promoting relentless activity toward continuous improvement within mandated parameters. Knowledge of tools to meet such strategic improvement and change are vital at all organizational levels. Participants of this interactive session will be given a healthcare problem to analyze within teams of 4-6 members. Information regarding what each tool is and does, within what situation each is used, tool construction, specific tool examples, and usage concerns for each tool will be provided via handouts and power point with additional verbal explanations by the presenters. Teams will be mentored through the problem solution with each successive tool use. Presenters will continuously monitor team activity interacting with teams throughout the entire process, concluding with team sharing time. The opportunity to view tool books at the end of the session should facilitate further study. Learning by doing yields greatest retention.