Continuous improvement is at the heart of Lean. The introduction of scheduled cascading huddles is just one of many improvements for Saskatoon Health Region.

Staff gather in a hallway

Staff of unit 6200 gather for a daily cascading huddle on May 13.

Approximately three weeks ago, the 90 Day of Innovation: Ready Every Day Team 3,  Information and Decision Support, held two improvement events, inviting stakeholders from throughout the organization to discuss how we could establish cascading information huddles. This initial group put together a schedule of four 15-minute huddles to cascade information up the chain of leadership. The huddles work like this:

  • Before 08:30 Units meet with their managers
  • 08:30 Managers with Directors
  • 09:00 Directors across the Region with VPs
  • 09:30 VPs with CEO

Standard work was also developed for each level to assist with the cascading information process. The huddles ensure that by 10:00 a.m. every morning, every level of the organization has had the opportunity to raise issues and barriers with their peers and leaders so we can respond to demands quickly and effectively without having to struggle to find the right information.

Last week, these huddles began including cross-functional representatives at the director level after a second improvement event determined adding their voice at the director level was most effective. Involving cross functional teams to these huddles builds relationships, ensures visibility and removes barriers. “My team finds these very helpful to know what is happening outside of our area,” says Noella Leydon, director of Food and Nutrition Services. “And it’s an opportunity for us to be heard.”

Luiza Kent-Smith, Site Leader for Royal University Hospital agrees, “We’ve seen some great examples of the need for cross-functional huddles in the first week already. By having different groups involved we can all see the bigger picture and have a greater understanding of issues so we can work together to overcome them.”

As with any improvement we make, the cascading huddles are currently undergoing a testing phase where feedback from participants is constantly improving the process. “We are getting some great feedback on the process,” says Patti Simonar, team 3 sub-lead. “A daily touch-base really keeps everyone up to speed about the challenges and successes various groups are experiencing.”

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