Houston hospital puts small changes to big uses

Columbia Rosewood Medical Center in Houston has implemented more than a dozen changes generated from brainstorming sessions using the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Model. Here are six of their early successes:

Smile stickers: Some staff decided others were not smiling enough. So now, when someone is spotted without a smile, they receive one of these stickers to remind them.

Bell: When staff are talking too loud, clanging equipment, or otherwise making too much noise, a person can ring the bell to remind people to be quieter.

Beepers: Given to clinicians, these help create a quieter unit by reducing the need for overhead paging. This reduces the amount of time wasted hunting down a nurse who receives a call from a doctor or patient. Staff created a digital coding system that tells the nurses who needs what where.

Telephones in corridor and staff lounge: Reduces the time wasted running from one end of Rosewood’s long halls to another to find a phone. "This saves steps which can add up over days," says Malene Farrell, RN, BAS, director of medical nursing services at Rosewood."

Decorative bulletin board: Staff spruced up the information board with seasonal decorations, jokes, and cartoons. "It really brightens the unit," Farrell says. "Before people used to miss announcements because they wouldn’t read the board. Now the jokes or decorations will draw their eye, and then they’ll see the announcement for an inservice training."

Employee of the Month: The staff draws the name of a person who has done something worth recognition that month. "They’re celebrating themselves," Farrell says. It really helps morale."

Connie Esposito, vice president of operations at Rosewood, says the staff are assessing the outcomes of these projects, such as a reduction in overtime and how much time the beepers save nurses because they no longer have to run around looking for someone. The hospital is also assessing patient and physician satisfaction surveys.

Upcoming projects the group will tackle include a more efficient reporting process during shift changes.