A week with the Kaizen Team at SASH

Earlier this academic year I joined the Kaizen Team at East Surrey for a 5-day Rapid Process Improvement Workshop as part of their SASH+ scheme.  The target for the week was to improve the transfer of patients from the ED to the ward.  

The Kaizen team involved team members from a range of roles and departments including ED and AMU nurses, the site team, transfer team, admin managers, trackers, and a porter. The aim was to improve patient wait times, identify defects in the current systems, set up standards of work and improve the overall patient experience of transfers from ED to ward. 

First, we identified all the decisions and actions (large and small) that were taken from the moment a patient was declared ‘I am ready to clinically proceed’ to their completed handover by the receiving ward (here AMU). We learnt how many minutes (or even footsteps) each step in this process involved. 

We were allocated different teams and then, each day, we completed Genbas (looking at where the work is actually done i.e. ED / AMU) trialling different ideas with the ‘home teams’ (e.g. colleagues currently working in ED / AMU) and either improving, keeping, or abandoning them.  Twice a day, we regrouped to share what we’d achieved and what our next steps would be to ensure that all the targets were being addressed.  The week culminated in a presentation shared with the trust.  The trust then revisits progress at 60 and 90 days.

Participating in this week was hard work – I had to understand a lot of new terms and information – but I learnt a lot about the processes involved and the different roles within the trust. It was also good to meet members of the wider team as we completed our Genbas.  The week also gave me an opportunity to develop my team working and management skills: how to allocate tasks, introduce new ways of working, communicate effectively and manage conflict.  

I would recommend anyone who is offered the opportunity to take part in a Kaizen week to take it up.