Program Management Office Implements Programs to Enhance Efficiency Across the Health System
Several years ago, Crozer-Keystone Health System hired the national consulting firm Accenture to complete a comprehensive assessment of the health system to determine ways that Crozer-Keystone could reduce costs and enhance patient care and clinical performances. Based on those recommendations, Crozer-Keystone implemented a range of initiatives that resulted in productivity improvements and efficiencies valued at more than $10 million in the last 12 months.
The initiatives have been led by Crozer-Keystone administrators and clinicians from all hospitals and within the Crozer-Keystone Health Network, and they have required the efforts of hundreds of employees and physicians. Many of the initiatives have continued in the current fiscal year, while new ones are underway. Employees involved with these projects meet regularly to carefully tracking their progress and results.
A new training program was also developed to support the work. The program is a “learning lab” that was implemented for managers and team leaders who are accountable for getting key results aligned to organizational strategies and goals, yet challenged by the problem solving required by the initiative. Thirty-four managers/team leaders have completed the course, which was developed by the Quality and Organizational Development departments in conjunction with the new Program Management Office.
“We are fortunate to have an outstanding workforce that is dedicated to making Crozer-Keystone the best health system in the region. But we knew that, like all organizations, there were steps that we could take to help us perform more efficiently and effectively,” says Richard Bennett, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Crozer-Keystone. “We have evaluated the recommendations and put them into action. Through the cooperation and hard work of many employees, we have seen of the benefits of our efforts, including higher productivity, quicker turnaround times and better inter-departmental communication.”
Among the areas addressed in the past fiscal year:
- Blood Bank
- Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
- Clinical Pharmacy
- Emergency Departments
- Peri-operative Services
- Revenue Cycle (patient access and payments)
- Supply Chain (purchasing).
For a more thorough overview of one of these programs and how changes were made and results were achieved, see the sidebar to this article below.
Areas being addressed in the current fiscal year include custom contract for supplies; the care management process; employee suggestion program; clinical documentation improvement; and service referrals and tracking.
A Program Management Office (PMO) was created to oversee the initiatives. The office aims to coordinate projects and establish tools and processes to reduce risk and sustain goal achievement. This is accomplished through a consistent and repeatable methodology based on data analysis and process improvement. Under the direction of Suzanne Battaglia, the PMO has established templates for consistent management of objectives, trained and assisted the employees leading the initiatives, and initiated communication plans and processes.
“The success of our initiatives so far would not have been possible without the leadership of the Program Management Office and the hard work and dedication of so many employees from throughout the health system,” says Steve DeFruscio, CKHS vice president of Administration.
For more information about the initiatives, contact Battaglia at (610) 338-8236 (16-8236).
Crozer-Keystone’s imaging services were the focus of a Program Management Office initiative during this past fiscal year that resulted in savings of $689,500. The project’s goal was to improve staff productivity in all imaging facilities, improve standardization and achieve cost reductions while maintaining the same high level of quality care and customer service.
The initiative included a comprehensive, system-wide team led by “sponsors” Diane Miller, president of Taylor Hospital and Steve DeFruscio VP Administration; team leader Lisa Iacovelli, site coordinator at Media Medical Imaging; and physician champion Joseph Stock, M.D., chair of the Division of Radiology at Crozer. The team also included managers from all of the Crozer-Keystone imaging sites and Susan Battaglia, PMO director.
The team’s approach was to evaluate work productivity opportunities and standard operating practices, then determine alternative staffing models and workflow efficiencies.
For example, the team discovered that, for some imaging services at CKHS sites, staffing levels did not appropriately match trends in patient volume. Because of this, some employees were asked to work at locations and during times when their skills would be best utilized. Employees were cross-trained so that they could work at multiple locations. In other instances, changes were made – such as creating a new room that merged mammography and DEXA scanning at one location – that helped to make the best use of staff resources.
“It was a pleasure for me working with a system-wide group to analyze a problem, look at the data, and come up with a reasonable solution that was accepted by the team. We need to continue to make imaging decisions that are best for the health system for the long term,” Stock says.
Many of the decisions for the team were difficult. For instance, after looking at trends and evaluating data, the team suggested that Mammography services at Taylor and Nuclear Medicine services at Springfield be eliminated. These changes became effective in July 1 of this year.
“A great amount of research and discussion went into making the decision to discontinue certain imaging services at two of our sites, but in the end it was the best choice to increase efficiency while maintaining easy access to care for our patients. Our employees, physicians and patients have responded well to the change, and I thank everyone for their professionalism and dedication to the health system,” Miller says.
The team also learned to investigate thoroughly, analyze data, and be flexible. In one case, they considered changes to the call coverage for Ultrasound and Vascular services. After thorough analysis, however, they realized that the cost savings that were to be realized did not justify the disadvantages of the process change. The data and corresponding advantages, disadvantages and risks were presented to executive management who then supported the decision to maintain the existing coverage.