Becker's Health IT + Clinical Leadership 2018 Speaker Series: 3 questions with Project Manager, Performance Improvement Operations for Lahey Health, Kristen Swain, RN, BSN

Kristen Swain, RN, BSN serves as Project Manager of Performance Improvement Operations for Lahey Health.

On May 10th, Ms. Swain will present at Becker's Health IT + Clinical Leadership 2018. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place May 10-11th 2018 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Ms. Swain's session, click here.

Question: What did you notice about your healthcare experience the last time you were at the receiving end as a patient?

Kristen Swain: While the staff with whom I interacted were all very pleasant, there were a number of systems failures that led to an error. There was miscommunication between my primary care office and the specialist I was ordered to see. Lab orders were lost and then when my blood was drawn, that was lost too. I had to send multiple faxes to my doctor's office and call 2-3 times a day until the correct form was faxed back to me. As patients, it is very hard to trust our healthcare system and at the root of patient harm is variation and waste in a process that leads to miscommunication, delay and unnecessary suffering.

Q: When was the last time your organization responded to concerns or needs expressed by physicians? What unfolded?

KS: One of our chief physicians conducted a listening tour with all the providers across our health system. He heard about their frustrations and from these discussions a program was developed to redesign our ambulatory practices. By improving physician and staff joy in work, we aim to achieve better patient outcomes. In the Performance Improvement Operations department, we are charged with improving physician and support staff engagement through the removal of waste in patient care processes, promoting upward and downward communication and root cause problem solving by the front line staff. Our work is supported by Lean methodologies & the model for improvement, as well as organizational behavior and psychology of change theory.

Q: As a leader, what is the best investment you made in your own professional development in the past five years?

KS: As an emerging leader in healthcare, as I transitioned from my role as a bedside nurse to my current position as a project manager for a health system, I knew I needed to invest in my professional growth and development. I took a certificate course in Lean for Hospitals to learn how to lead improvement efforts and I am aligned with both the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Becker's Hospital Review to stay up to date on changes in the healthcare environment.

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