Focusing on continuous improvement

Posted on Fri, 09/11/2018 by by Debbie Renwick, head of the Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO)

It might sound like a bit of a mouthful but Kaizen is actually a pretty simple concept and one that is really important in the future of the NHS.

Kaizen is the Japanese word for continuous improvement and in business refers to the way an organisation looks to improve the way it can do things.

We all know that every day we come across things that take us away from our work and that dealing with these issues reduces the time we can spend doing the things that are most valuable to our role.

In Gateshead we’re actively looking at how to reduce the amount of waste that we all come across every day, to make working lives less frustrating and to increase the time we have to spend with our patients.

Introducing leaner, more effective processes has been recognised as a fundamental way to bring about change and transformation to help our organisation move forward. Ultimately we want to improve quality and eliminate waste by looking at every part of a typical system used to treat patients.

The KPO has held a series of workshops that look at all the steps involved in a specific task or management of a ward and explore how we can simplify it or make it better.

These Rapid Process Improvement Workshops not only make things more efficient by reducing waste they also drive down costs and improve quality. We’ve already seen improvements in areas including: Ante Natal Maternity Services, Surgical Pre-Assessment, Mortality Reviews and Health Records.

At a time of major challenge and change for the NHS it’s vital that we continue to identify ways of improving our systems so we can provide excellent, high quality services to our patients while making the very best of our resources.

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