How a Multidisciplinary Team Used 3P Facilitation to Rethink Inpatient Care

Twenty-five employees from Renown Health, our client, came together for a week to imagine the future of inpatient care. Their CEO challenged them to design the care processes and spaces required to bring this vision to life — and to go well beyond simply doing better than what they do today.

Using the Virginia Mason Production System method of 3P (Production Preparation Process) facilitation, faculty member and lean facility design expert Chris Backous led this multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, technicians, pharmacists, supply chain leaders and allied health professionals to develop an “insanely great” vision worthy of their senior leader’s challenge. Today their innovative, patient-centered, forward-focused ideas are being incorporated into the design of the new inpatient floor while the team members engage others to move care processes forward, using their exciting new vision as the guide.

Virginia Mason Institute provides coaching and education to organizations to transform health care worldwide. Using the philosophy that is fundamental to Virginia Mason’s successes, the institute guides health care leaders as they lead culture change to improve patient safety, quality and efficiency.

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  • Andy Howlett says:

    It sounds like this approach was used as part of the design of a new facility. Can the approach be used for existing facilities, which may not support ideal care processes, and if so, what process is used to agree compromises to the “ideal” model to apply it to the existing bricks & mortar?

    • Tom Gormley says:

      Hi, I just happened to be reading on this site, looking for material describing VM’s approach to facility design in the context of patient care improvements, and saw these good questions. I assume VMI staff respond to these, but would also be happy to share my related experience. I haven’t yet participated in a new facility design / construction project, so my experiences with improving patient care processes are most similar to yours — working mostly within the constraints of existing infrastructure. Every process has enormous potential for improvements even within the physical constraints, you just need to study the process, be courageously transparent in identifying all the problems, and thoughtful with future state changes which are always a compromise vs. the “ideal”. Value stream and process mapping are great tools for this when used with skilled facilitators and willing staff led by engaged, supportive leaders. For future state changes, a new building may be off the table, but smaller, focused changes (walls, storage, layout) to facilities are often feasible and should be considered.

    • Christina G says:

      I am intrigued to see if the process could work as effectively on an existing unit. With all of the varying stakeholders- how are decisions agreed upon?

  • Andrew E. says:

    It is commonplace to have individuals in meetings who have very strong opinions, and unfortunately good ideas can get overlooked when people acquiesce to avoid conflict. What is the method of deciding which specific process improvement actions should be taken, when there are several excellent potential options to choose from? Is 3P decision-making consensus based, management driven, or more flexible?

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