RHC-P’s SLS focuses on planning, process improvement, leaders

| May 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

Brig. Gen. Bertram C. Providence, commanding general, Regional Health Command-Pacific, addresses senior leaders during the region’s recent Senior Leader Symposium at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu. More than 100 of the region’s commanders, senior enlisted advisors and civilian personnel attended the four-day event to discuss process improvement, conduct leadership development, and align with the region’s strategic campaign plan. (Photo by Ana Allen, Regional Health Command-Pacific Public Affairs)

Sharon Ayala
Regional Health Command-Pacific

HONOLULU — More than 100 Regional Health Command-Pacific (RHC-P) commanders, their senior enlisted advisers and civilian personnel, who represented the region’s medical, dental and public health facilities, participated in a four-day Senior Leaders’ Symposium (SLS), held here.

The goal was to equip senior leaders with proven tools and methods to effectively implement continuous process improvements within their facilities, align them with the region’s strategic campaign plan and conduct leadership development.

The host, Brig. Gen. Bertram C. Providence, RHC-P, commanding general, began the May 2-5 training by emphasizing the importance of coming together as a team to enhance the region’s health care processes. He encouraged attendees to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from each other, share best practices and then apply what they learn when they return to their organizations.

“This week, we are going to hear from many experts about how we, as leaders, can conduct business smarter by improving our processes across the board to ultimately benefit the health readiness of service members and their families,” Providence said.

Process improvements using Lean, Six Sigma, A3 thinking (a structured thought process for problem solving) or other process improvement frameworks specifically seek to improve processes by eliminating or reducing waste and variation. Leaders who identify and prioritize improvement opportunities are demonstrating their commitment to making positive changes within their organizations.

“Lean Six Sigma, coupled with a process improvement strategy, can be used to propel our ability to meet and exceed strategic goals and objectives,” said Kelly Wheeler, RHC-P, Plans, Analysis and Evaluation Branch.

For example, over the past few years, as a result of process improvement initiatives implemented in areas such as patient safety, RHC-P has made tremendous progress toward becoming a “high reliability organization.”

To further prepare RHC-P’s leaders in developing a framework for safe, reliable and effective care, Col. Aaron Pitney, deputy director, RHC-P, Clinical Operations, presented an overview of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Framework for Clinical Excellence.

“The IHI framework focuses on two major domains: organization culture and becoming a learning organization,” Pitney explained. “It gives the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ to process improvement projects. Both domains are so important to health care safety and quality, because they provide the context under which process improvement initiatives fit into the bigger goal of better care for beneficiaries.”

Pitney said that the goal of his presentation was to get commanders and organizational leaders to assess themselves objectively, decide where their organization needs to focus and then formulate a plan to implement those improvements and changes.

“If we can show that implementing the IHI’s framework leads to meaningful change that directly improves patient care and outcomes, it energizes all staff members to engage in making improvements,” Pitney said.

Attendees also had an opportunity to put into practice what they learned when they participated in practical exercises to develop process improvements strategies to enhance the region’s campaign plan.

Additionally, each of the direct reporting unit commanders presented their command briefings and highlighted areas within their facilities where they have successfully implemented process improvements initiatives.

In his closing remarks, Providence praised the leaders for their active engagement throughout the symposium, which contributed to its success.

“This has really been a great opportunity for us to actively participate in discussions about what we are collectively trying to accomplish in our region,” he said. “As leaders, we are there to create the environment in which our teams can suggest, plan and implement improvements in the system of care. As we empower our teams to ask the hard questions and be part of the solution, we can change our system for the better.”

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