Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Caller-Outer of the Month Award #3

Today was the monthly meeting of our Board of Directors, along with another chance to present our Caller-Outer of the Month Award. It was given to Deborah Kravitz, seen here, who works in our Central Processing Division (CPD).

The purpose of the award is not to recognize someone who has solved a problem, but rather to recognize someone on the staff who has noticed a problem and called it out. The idea is that call-outs lead to root cause analyses that enable us to fix problems systematically rather than engaging in work-arounds. Our Board of Directors created the award as part of our BIDMC SPIRIT program to encourage people to call out problems to make our hospital a better place to work. (Beyond the recognition, the award is accompanied by two really good tickets to a Red Sox game.)

You may recall reading about the LEAN rapid improvement event we ran in the CPD recently. Well, Deborah got the whole thing started many months ago when she invited me for a tour of CPD, and I was able to see the terrible working conditions facing her and her colleagues as they try to carry out their job of sterilizing all of the surgical instruments used in the hospital's ORs. After some delay, Deborah nudged me again a few months later and pointed out that nothing had improved. So, we got to work on the problem and with the help of the CPD staff, are now on the path to a much healthier, safer, and efficient work environment.

By the way, Deborah is also a talented artist. Check out a sample of her work here.


Anonymous said...

Awesome idea, Paul. Employees who call out problems at my hospital are called trouble makers. Needless to say, everything gets buried and nothing ever gets solved.


Unknown said...

Agree totally with motherjonesrn--it's a fabulous idea and good for y'all. Caller-outers are avoided at my hospital.
Ms. Kravitz' artwork "Night Falls" is gorgeous.

John Robison said...

Paul, I have a story about your hospital on my own blog today, at

Best wishes
John Elder Robison

Jeff Whitmill said...

I just heard yesterday about what you're doing to meet the money crunch - this is one of the most inspiring efforts I've of which I've heard. Kudos.

And I very much like Deborah Kravitz's artwork. If she has more like this and ever wants to exhibit them in Minneapolis, I have a gallery which would welcome her.