Friday, April 18, 2008

Busywork is not your job!


On March 25, a SPIRIT training team visited the MICU 6. During the 25-minute observation, Pat Boykins, a Unit Coordinator, attempted to order copies of a patient consent form from the Web site of Office Depot Web, which has a contract to print all of BIDMC’s forms. When she entered the BIDMC code for the form (MC1793) she received an error message saying that the SKU – the product number Office Depot associates with the form – was incorrect. There was no other information, and thus Pat could not order the form.

Pat then spent 5-7 minutes making phone calls to hunt down the correct code. She eventually found it: MR1793. When asked at the end of the 25-minute observation if she encountered any problems in her job during that time, Pat said “No.” Why? Because this type of hunting and fetching has become a routine part of her job – a job she does with as much efficiency as possible. When prompted by the SPIRIT team to think of a way to improve the form-ordering process, however, she did make a suggestion that she said would save her a lot of time: find a way for the Office Depot site to provide the correct SKU for an expired or changed form code.

Here’s what happened next:

Pat reached out to her Help Chain Contact, Kristin Russell, Nurse Manager of MICU 6. Kristin spoke with Paula French, Contract Manager, who handles the Office Depot account. Paula said the proposed functionality of the Office Depot database does exist, and that the SKU never changes for a given form, even if its BIDMC code changes. She referred Kristin to Michelle Micale, Project Manager in Health Information Management, the department that handles all forms.

Michelle Micale was very helpful, and in the information she provided, the root cause of the problem was revealed. She confirmed that the form’s internal, BIDMC code had changed recently as part of an overall, ongoing process of reassigning more specific codes to forms to categorize them. Instead of all being Medical Center (MC) forms, they are being recoded as Medical Records (MR) forms, Learning Center (LC) forms, Human Resource (HR) forms, etc.

Michelle is working with Office Depot to ensure that both the old code and the new code for each form will always lead to the same SKU, beginning with the Medical Records forms. This process will take a while. In the meantime, she is available as a resource to provide the correct form number to anyone who needs one. Her e-mail and phone number are on the problem log. David Drew of Patient Care Services has sent this information to all Unit Coordinators.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it is a very interesting observation here that workarounds can sometimes become so routine that people no longer recognize them as workarounds. Very powerful.