When Anna Rozenhart saw the stopwatch for the first time, it was hard not to feel judged. Today, she feels optimistic that someone is taking notice.

John Black and Associates walked the CHS design team through the first of two exhaustive 3P processes, November 14 - 18, 2011.

“You felt judged at first on the care you were giving, but then you realize this is not about the care, but the processes and how it can be better,” says Rozenhart, a pediatric nurse at Royal University Hospital. “Once I understood what the stopwatch meant and could help explain it to others, everyone started talking and had a lot of good input on what could change.”

Rozenhart experienced the power of the stopwatch herself when she was asked to help with data collection. Teaming up with one of the Health Region’s quality services consultants, she took the stopwatch, clipboard and headed into labour and delivery and NICU. The experience was surprising.

“I just didn’t expect that how waiting for an elevator or computer system can really affect the process,” she explains. “For example, nurses knew that an x-ray took longer than needed because the system didn’t have the new baby’s name in it fast enough to register the order. They were waiting. The patient was waiting.”

The information Rozenhart helped gather that day will feed into work underway with planning for Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan.

Working with John Black and Associates, Saskatoon Health Region administrative and physician leaders, managers and quality services consultants have been diving deep into the data to guide decisions about the new hospital. This has meant getting more information on how long processes are taking and the waits patients are experiencing. This will feed into two week-long sessions in November and December called 3P (production, preparation, process).

The team of physician and administrative leaders have also been re-examining what the right size for the building should be based on new data.

“We wanted to review the population projections given recent growth in our province,” says Jackie Mann, VP Acute Care and project sponsor for Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Health Region. “The team also looked at immediate efficiencies such as letting housekeeping staff know sooner than later that a room is ready to be cleaned so it is not sitting empty when patients are waiting for a bed.”

Then, bed numbers were re-calculated and a new recommended building size came out of the data. Architects took this information and revised several possible layouts with that new information. Administrative and physician leaders worked through the options and choose one overall building layout to be used as the starting point in 3P.

Now, teams of staff, physicians, leaders and families will take this defined area and develop and test news processes and designs during the two events. This will also include determining how the materials and information needs to flow in order work to reduce waits.

It’s lean at work – a word staff and physicians may have heard, but many don’t understand, including Rozenhart. But what she does understand is its potential.

“I am positive about (lean) because I can see how it could make things so much better for patients and for us,” she says. “Our care will be more efficient if we can figure out a way to make computer programs better, get lab requisitions down faster. The nurses have said if we could fix this problem in the new hospital, we would save so much time.”

To learn more about the work underway, visit Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan website at www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca/chs and watch the latest video on 3P.