How CommonSpirit Health achieves consistent perioperative quality: 5 key insights


With more than 1,000 care sites across 21 states, Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health is laser-focused on creating a patient and provider experience that delivers the same comfort and reliability at each and every one of its facilities.

During an April 26 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by LeanTaaS, CommonSpirit and LeanTaaS executives shared how the health system has tapped into technology and administrative tools to refine this process, known as "systemness."

The presenters were:

  • Brian Dawson, system vice president of perioperative services at Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health
  • Ashley Walsh, vice president of client services at LeanTaaS

Five key takeaways: 

1. "Systemness" is providing consistent patient, provider and staff experience across a health system through common operational processes, tools, policies and procedures. "It gives you a sense of comfort," Mr. Dawson said. "It's like walking into your favorite chain grocery store where you know things are going to be the same in aisle No. 1 no matter where you walk into that store across the U.S." Other industries that have done a good job in creating "systemness" include airlines (the Delta experience at each airport), food franchises, package delivery, Uber and others.

2. Health systems can lose systemness in situations such as growth through an acquisition, lack of common governance and differing policies and procedures. Not behaving like a system therefore leads to lost revenue, higher cost, lack of accountability and belief in the metrics.

3. Systemness is important especially in healthcare because it improves both patient and provider experiences. It provides "a level of comfort and satisfaction" so a patient who has an encounter at one of CommonSpirit's East Coast facilities can share talk about their experience with a family member on the West Coast, for example, who could then go and receive the same experience for a similar procedure, Mr. Dawson said. From a provider perspective being able to find OR time and having the same block policy for each location and using the same metrics to measure performance can drive loyalty and increase volume from splitter surgeons.

4. CommonSpirit deployed LeanTaaS' iQueue tool to open up OR time, manage block time, use common metrics and block policies. The tools were also used to manage cross-team huddles, all of which ultimately led to systemness. Before tapping LeanTaaS, the health system's perioperative administrative team was separated from daily surgical activities and onboarding and recruiting of surgeons, Mr. Dawson said.

"We formed meetings and teams around each operating room that included our marketing people – who face to face with surgeons – our strategy individuals in administration, and also included the OR leaders and schedulers," he said. "We were all on the same sheet of music when we talked about how we could really increase growth, create systemness, increase satisfaction and therefore increase our business."

5. Systemness doesn't translate to lost surgical volumes. CommonSpirit uses LeanTaaS' iQueue tool to bust the myth that systemness implies volume is lost for the system as a whole. The health systems deployed iQueue so surgeons can see available capacity at any system hospital where they are credentialed, which increases the changes of the volume staying within its network of hospitals.

Click here to view the webinar presentation.

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