Photo contest to bring lean thinking closer

Part of lean thinking is activating and recognizing all grey areas in your team. The ward Neurosurgery of the St. Elisabeth Hospital created a beautiful intervention for this: a photo contest to visualize improvement opportunities.

They purchased a digital camera and placed it on an easily accessible place. Everyone of the ward was invited to take a picture of something that annoys them at that time. A few weeks later this resulted into 40 (!) photos. The prize for the best photo was two cinema tickets (cinema= seeing….of waste). Here is the winning photo:

Angela Rutten, who is quality officer of the department, gives an explanation of the photo:
“This is a photo of a bin which is on top of a medicine trolley. Medication that remains after a patient is released from the hospital, is removed from the intended boxes and is put into the bin on top of the medicine trolley, as seen on the photo. However, this bin is not intended for left over medication, and the consequence of this is that medicine is easy accessible for everyone, which is unsafe. In addition it turns out that this waste container is seldom cleaned out, resulting in an increasing pile of medication.

We have already taken a countermeasure. We have introduced a suitable plastic container in which all the medicines are gathered that does not have to be given to a patient anymore. The night shift will empty this container during the standard process of preparing the medication and will also dispose the waste medicines in the proper way.

As a result no (large quantities of) medicines are lying around, it is not easy to grasp and someone is responsible for disposing of the remaining medicine. Another pleasant advantage is that the nurses from the day and evening shifts are not bothered anymore by a bin with medicines which must be cleared, but now have the time to do it in a safe and correct manner”.

This ward is working with the Improvement Chart. Since the contest, photos are put on the Improvement Chart one by one and on the basis of this photo, countermeasures are taken to tackle the underlying causes. In the coffee room a digital photo frame is present which shows the other photos, waiting until they are addressed too.

The intervention turned out to be a particularly fun way to involve everyone. This way of working is also works well because countermeasures are taken for concrete matters within the direct influence of the team. In this way, the team will notice quick results and improvements on subjects that they are interested in and this makes it fun to improve continuously.

P.S. My gratitude goes to Femke van de Pol for translating my Dutch blog

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