Understanding Current Performance: Using The Process Map

June 14, 2010 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

Here is another in the series I am dong about performance improvement and performance improvement CME – the third installment in understanding current performance in a system.

We have all heard that every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. If I want to get different results from the work I do in the system I work in I have to change the system. If a physician wants to get different results from the care they provide in the system in which they provide the care, something(s) in the system will have to change. To change a system requires that I know what work is being done in the system and how that system is performing. In the last post I talked about the importance of a process being stable for improvement to occur. We looked at the “Control Chart” as a tool to help us understand process stability. In this post we talk about another quality tool that will help us understand the current performance of a process – The “Process Map”.

We have all seen Process Maps before. A process is a group of activities which when competed produce a particular outcome. In operational terms, inputs are transformed into outputs. In a doctors office an example would be the “Appointment Scheduling Process” or “Diabetes Patient Visit Process”, or the “Inoculation/Vaccination Process”, or the “Billing Process”, or the “Inventory Control Process”. There are literally hundreds of processes and sub-processes in every healthcare setting. All health care is delivered through a series of processes.

Every CME operation has innumerable processes. The “Performance Gap Identification and Analysis Process”, the “Needs Assessment Process”, the Instructional Design Process”, the “Marketing and Advertising Process”, The “Registration Process”, the “Facilities Acquisition Process”, the “File Record Keeping Process”, and on and on. Everything we do in our CME operation is part of a process or sub-process.

Process maps are depictions showing each step in a logical flow of work necessary to achieve a desired result. A good process map lets you gain a truer understanding of how a process is really working.

Process maps have several advantages:
• They are intuitive
• They can be understood at every level of an organization
• They are sophisticated enough to model complex activities
• They prevent ambiguity
• They make effective use of time available to analyze a process
• They are very effective in Identify process-related issues

Some Tips for Process Mapping
• Identify the real problem in the current state. What is it? What is it not?
• Genba – the Japanese word for walking the process by personally following a process thorough every step.
• Diagram the current or process – depict the current performance in a clear, logical and visual manner.
• Highlight problem(s) with storm bursts
• Be sure that those engaged in the current process agree that there is a clear and acceptable description of the process.
• Use facts to make the current situation clear, not just observations and opinions?

Until we know exactly what work is being done to produce the results we are getting we will not be able to effect permanent positive change. It is not enough simply to measure the results of our effort. We must examine the work that is producing the undesirable outcomes. This is one of the most important steps in any improvement initiative. Skimping here can cost you dearly as an improvement effort moves forward.


Entry filed under: Improvement, PI CME, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

CME in the News and on the Blogs June 9, 2010 CME in the News and on the Blogs June 15,2010

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