Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We know you

I thought you might enjoy this clip which highlights patient-centered design thinking. Keep an eye out for Dr. John Krueger, who joined us this last year to talk about innovation. Dr. Krueger will be here next week to visit the change agent fellows and innovation team. You are welcome to listen in. Cal students, not to worry, he'll be joining you as well!

Insights from the ER from Worrell Design on Vimeo.

Insights from the ER from Worrell Design on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kaizen Report-Out This Friday

Improving Access, Kaizen Report-Outs will occur on Friday, September 23rd as follows:

7:45-8:15 AM Richmond Health Center

10-10:30 AM CCRMC Hospital Lobby

12:15-12:45 PM Pittsburg Health Center

Please support the work of your colleagues and our patient and family partners as they draw on science and the energy and creativity of each other to continuously improve our health system.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Choice is Ours

Today, along with other public hospital and health system leaders across the nation, I had the opportunity to hear our CMS Administrator, Don Berwick, speak concerning our options when considering the rising cost of health care. He noted that there are two choices before us that will result in cost savings:

we can cut services and care, or we can improve them.

While cutting services and staff, or withholding benefits may seem like an easy way to reduce costs, Berwick discussed a "better" approach: remove defects, duplication, inefficiencies and rework from our health care systems; provide the care that people want and need; produce health. He urged health leaders to pursue continuous improvement and innovation. Pointing to a cell phone in the room, Berwick noted that personal communication devices have not only vastly improved in functionality over the last five years, they have decreased in cost at the same time. In contrast to cutting service as a cost containment strategy, improvement, isn't easy: it takes time, it can be difficult identify which specific changes led to improvement and it requires skill and discipline in improvement methods.

We are at a critical crossroads in health care in America. We can pursue the historically unsuccessful and unsustainable approaches to cost containment we have typically applied in health care, or we can become better. We can cut service in our country, increasing human suffering and despair, or we can improve our health systems and provide the care our communities want, need and deserve.

The choice is ours.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sustainability Study - Support for Our Course

This message is from CCHS Director, Dr. William Walker and CCRMC/HCs CEO, Anna Roth

All Staff Message: Sustainability Study - Support for Our Course

After many months, the sustainability study of our Regional Medical Center and Health Centers is complete.

The report describes our strengths and the work we have underway to further improve and transform our system in order to continue to care for our community and help implement changes as part of Health Care Reform.

The County Board of Supervisors (BOS) asked for the sustainability study as part of the budget process in 2009 to look at how we provide care and how we can optimize services while controlling costs. The consultant, Health Management Associates, was awarded a $390,000 contract in January of this year to do the study. The final report has been posted on the county website ( will be presented to the BOS CCRMC Joint Conference Committee on September 28 and then to the full Board of Supervisors on October 4.

We worked closely with the consultants on this study. In their findings, they point to how our integrated health system is well positioned for Health Care Reform and how we are fully accessing federal funding streams to continue to be the safety net provider of choice for our community.

The study describes our current efforts to improve service delivery and patient experience. Many of these efforts are underway, including implementing an Electronic Health Record, which will "go live" in July; increasing access and improving response time for appointment scheduling; and integrating behavioral health and primary care among many other efforts. In addition, the report highlights our long-standing commitment to quality improvement, applauding and calling for further support of the unique and innovative improvement work we are doing.

The study identifies the critical need to increase capacity and the importance of our current efforts to expand primary care capacity in both our system and in the partnerships we are developing in the community. Information on options for governance structure is presented but no specific recommendations are made. The study also identifies several external factors we do not control that have significant financial impacts on our ability to operate as a health system, such as personnel processes, and the cost of health and retirement benefits.

We view this study as an excellent overview of our planned transition to Health Care Reform in 2014 and beyond. The findings validate that we have been, and are on the right path. We all can be proud of the crucial work we do in caring for and improving the health of our community.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the people we serve,

William B. Walker, M.D., Director and Health OfficerContra Costa Health Services

Anna M. Roth, Chief Executive Officer, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Message from Alaska

One of the fun things about blogging is the connections one can make. Find a message here about your work from a Lean leader in Alaska. His post is about the work you are doing and how you and your efforts are contributing to the growing swath of knowledge about the application of Lean as a leadership system in health care organizations.

For some time I have followed the blog, "Lean in Alaska." It's written by Patrick Anderson, Executive Director of Chugachmiut, Inc., an Alaska Native Tribal consortium. They too are on a Lean journey. I encourage you to take the time to read his blog as you will find many similarities and strategies to overcome many of the same barriers we face. Each organization has their particular spin on the application of Lean management. What I find of particular interest is that Chugamiut uses Lean as their leadership system much like we do. This is very different than the application of a simple veneer or focus/emphasis on the tools rather than the leadership discipline itself. Could this be the common connection between us that is Rona?

Keep an eye out. More very soon...

Monday, September 5, 2011