Straight Talk - "My NCH, My Idea"

February 21, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

My NCH, My Idea was launched in the fall, and the suggestions have poured in—168 thus far to identify and define areas which can be changed to improve NCH. Under the leadership of Michelle Zech, Human Resources Director and Sue Manning, Director of Strategy, Quality and Performance Improvement, the Idea Committee assesses each idea according to implementation, collaboration, and value (quality or outcome divided by cost). These ideas are then vetted by appointed Idea Ambassadors who are subject matter experts throughout the system. The committee’s evaluation of the ideas generated its first five successful, actionable ideas, with many other potentially rewarding ideas in the pipeline.

Stopping these unnecessary processes is an example of a concept from operations management perfected at Toyota and copied by others, called by the Japanese name, “Muda.” Here are the first recipients of My NCH, My Idea recognition and rewards.

  • Stephanie Braun suggested that the Wave, our internal publication, go paperless. Stephanie’s idea to produce the Wave electronically saves printing costs and makes distribution easier.

  • Sue Facteau and Carol Vega from Central Distribution reviewed their processes, resulting in the cessation of printing nine unnecessary forms, saving about 500 sheets of paper per week.

  • Jillian Ewel, Rachel Cline, Mercedes Rankin, and Matt Rudy from the Histology lab suggested ceasing a process involving surgical specimens, where spare samples were never used and most times damaged during storage.

  • Rhonda Gary, Billing Supervisor, changed the face of the hospital bills patients receive to place credit card information on the front, thus increasing visibility, convenience and payment.

  • Nicole Low, an ICU secretary, suggested stopping production of consent and other lab forms printed every time a test was ordered. These permissions now will be completed once during a hospital stay.

One great “idea” that has persevered at NCH is our 10-year-old organ procurement program, in concert with the University of Miami. We recently relocated “The Tree of Life,” with its many leaves in memory of those whose organs were donated so others might live. This beautiful and meaningful symbol is now on the second floor lobby between the Surgical ICU and the hospital cafeteria and across from the patient elevator entrance. An average of four families per year make the difficult decision, usually during a very stressful time, to have their loved one’s organs made available to others in need. Many share their loved one’s name publicly on “The Tree of Life” and visit annually to commemorate this wonderful gift.

Our organ procurement program and “The Tree of Life” are life-saving and comforting programs that are part of a long record of thoughtful and important NCH ideas. It’s a proud legacy that My NCH, My Idea continues.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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and The NCH Healthcare System
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