Finding the Right Improvement Opportunities - BEST Bang for the Buck

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Doug Underwood
Process Management Analyst
East Alabama Medical Center

Frank Oprandy
Process Management
East Alabama Medical Center

In today's cost conscious healthcare environment, it is important that organizations channel process management/performance improvement resources to the departments with the greatest opportunities. This session will show participants how one Alabama hospital created and deployed an environmental scanning tool that effectively identifies which departments present the greatest potential for improvement and therefore should be targeted for operational improvement activities.

East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) needed a tool to help determine which cost centers that our Process Management (PM) group should concentrate their resources on to obtain maximum return for the hospital.

EAMC needed a tool that would include as many of the 170 + cost centers as possible, use several readily available metrics that were appropriately weighted, and that would level the playing field between revenue producing and support departments. The end result would be a tool that would identify those departments with the greatest opportunity for improvement during the report period.

The Environmental Scan tool combines comparative data, productivity data, patient satisfaction indicators, growth indicators plus independent criteria for each section that results in a weighted point score. The points for the sections are totaled, then placed on a red-yellow-green dashboard. Another part of the dashboard shows trend data for the previous six report periods. The tool is designed in MS Office Excel at a level that the average user can understand and apply.

The tool has been in use since January 2005 and is an important part of the strategic planning process for both the PM team and the entire EAMC organization.