Bringing people together to work on health care improvements is already a difficult task. However, this can be even more difficult during a pandemic – when people are encouraged to distance themselves socially.
The Mary Medical Center’s Performance Improvement (PI) team at OSF HealthCare Little Company faces this obstacle as it develops a comprehensive medical weight loss program for the metropolitan area.
“We want to develop a center of excellence in which individuals receive first-class solutions for medical weight management,” said Cecelia Roesch, PI specialist for the Metro region. “This means that we are merging our surgical and non-surgical services into one cohesive program.”
The PI Group has recruited leaders from across the ministry to participate in virtual design sessions that will bring this concept of a world class program to life. The PI team took an agile approach to optimize executive support for the vision of the program.
While PI has learned how to safely meet and brainstorm the pandemic, these innovative efforts can be permanently adopted to help leaders work together in a variety of settings to meet the needs of patients and communities.
Getting the most out of virtual design sessions
There are two phases to this project. The first ended with the establishment of a physical room to house the medical weight loss program. The second focuses on creating the overall programming. Design sessions for this type of effort are usually conducted in person.
“With around 25 mission partners from various disciplines and locations helping with this work, we had to find the logistics to run these sessions seamlessly,” said Cecelia. “That included finding ways to incorporate tools that PI has successfully used in face-to-face design meetings.”
PI researched, tested, and deployed Microsoft Teams for the design sessions. Using a sticky note tool in the platform’s digital breakout rooms, the team gathered feedback from attendees on the qualities of the best medical weight loss institutions. This enabled PI to determine what to address and brought understanding and insight into the needs of these OSF service providers.
“These tools are very easy to customize for small or large groups and are a fun, interactive way to introduce mission partners to performance improvement tools,” said Paige Fairfield, a PI Specialist in Ministry Performance Improvement.
The group also used the question “How could we …?” to identify known challenges and to drive the generation of solutions through brainstorming. After all the concepts were in place, PI used some form of affinity mapping to quickly identify topics that came up during this exercise. Affinity mapping brought the best solutions to the surface.
“It was clear to our mission partners that world-class facilities should include great communication skills between colleagues and the people we care for, transparent action plans for patients, accessibility, understanding and education,” said Cecelia. “The experience in the design session gave me a better understanding of how to develop the best program we can.”
With more insight into what it takes to create a world-class medical weight loss program, the PI team will work with its project team to refine and develop the many ideas inspired by the design session. This includes researching meal replacement options and preparing the right equipment that will be needed for patients.
This process begins with developing a current state map to identify opportunities between what is happening now and what is expected in the future.
“We were extremely pleased with how well our design sessions for our medical weight loss program went, given our personal COVID-19 restrictions,” said AJ Querciagrossa, chief executive officer, Metro Region. “The PI team did a fantastic job enabling breakout sessions that were just as, if not better, than being in the same room together.
“Using Microsoft Teams helped us stay on track and provided a seamless platform for engagement. We hope to replicate these sessions in other PI work. “
Collaboration is key
OSF Little Company of Mary has made it a priority this year to create a comprehensive medical weight loss center to better serve the needs of patients in the greater area. PI brought the facility closer to this goal through the use of performance improvement tools and digital platforms for continued collaboration – even when employees cannot be in the same room.
“We researched and learned everything about our video conferencing platform before we had our design sessions,” said Cecelia. “We have also enlisted mission partners to learn the technology so they can facilitate group discussions. Overall, we now have a process and a guide to continue our innovation efforts virtually. “