Quest for Excellence

Quest for Excellence is our vision of creating exceptional patient experiences through continuous improvement. Our institutional challenge is “to be better tomorrow than we are today!” Quest for Excellence is closely aligned with the CLER Pathways to Excellence. Quest has four areas of focus designed to help us along our continuous improvement journey. These interdependent areas of focus include Patient Experience, Safety, Leadership Development, and Lean methodology.
Patient Experience

Quest for Excellence is our vision of creating exceptional patient experiences. We strive to provide the best patient care in a safe and efficient environment. We work towards this goal every day through continuous process improvement, leadership development, using lean methodology. As a resident in our program, you will have the opportunity to integrate your clinical education into a culture of excellence in quality and safety that is designed for physician leaders. Our institution challenge is “to be better tomorrow than we are today!”

High Reliability Organization – Our Safety Journey

At NGMC we start every day with Safety. Each of our 300+ daily huddles begins with a review of the safety tool of the month, a safety story and celebration of good catches. The culture of safety is a key component of every employee’s job. Our program of “Building Safety CHAMPS” has a goal of ZERO preventable harm.

Communicate Clearly
Handoff Effectively
Act with a Questioning Attitude
Maintain Your Wingman at All Times
Pay Attention to Detail
Speak Up for Safety

We have developed an Error Prevention Toolkit (EPT) training program for leaders and front-line staff to ensure that we are moving forward with our safety initiatives using existing infrastructure, and not creating another system. The EPT training course was first rolled out in 2016 and is now required for all employees and physicians. Our entire Medical Staff has been trained! Each month, we focus on a different safety tool and safety behavior.

For example, the safety tool of the month for February 2018 is “report variances using our reporting system, RL6.” All residents will be trained on the RL6 system, be encouraged to enter variances regularly and receive feedback from the system on a quarterly basis. It’s our hope that residents use this system as the basis for their safety project.

Leadership Development

“The primary task of Toyota’s managers and leaders does not revolve around improvement…but around increasing the improvement capability of people. That capability is what, in Toyota’s view, strengthens the company.” – Mike Rother, Toyota Kata

So, how do you develop physician leaders who can do this? Residency training programs are focused mostly (or wholly) on clinical skill development. At Northeast Georgia Medical Center, in our Quest for Excellence, we believe that leadership development is also a skill that must be developed.

  • Residents become serious students of Lean Process Design
  • Residents become teachers
  • Residents eventually become Cultural Transformation agents in healthcare

Our curriculum is structured around three major competencies: personal authenticity, interpersonal effectiveness and continuous improvement. This leadership development model includes emotional intelligence and professional competence; effective communication and building trust; and vision, innovation and change management.

Lean Methodology

Lean is a customer-focused strategy that was developed and popularized by the Toyota Motor Company. It involves a relentless pursuit of waste, where waste is defined by the customer who is a patient in the healthcare system. Waste is generally defined as something that the patient does not see as having value.

Quest for Excellence relies on continual improvement which is why we have incorporated lean methodology into our culture. This lean methodology is what we refer to as our Quest Management System. The Quest Management System consists of four major components: people development, strategy deployment, cross-functional improvement, and the daily management system.

Our structured curriculum teaches you about process and flow, elimination of waste (or muda), the value of humble inquiry, a questioning attitude and the PDCA model.

Daily Management System

Every day in the modern healthcare system, we deal with unavailable supplies, missing information, broken equipment, difficult to follow procedures and other barriers to providing efficient and effective care. In most systems, we develop workarounds and put out fires, but we never seem to solve the problem. Over time, these problems become the norm.

One of the methods we address this in our system is our daily management system which consists of tiered huddles. These huddles provide an opportunity for staff to identify and work through problems that get in the way of patient safety. At each of 410 huddles that occur across the system, teams determine the readiness for delivering safe and effective patient care, efficient use of resources, and good patient flow.

In the Office of Graduate Medical Education (GME), we have an administrative (Tier 1) huddle each morning at 8:15 a.m. Each of the residency program coordinators participates in the huddles, along with other members of the GME administrative and educational staff. GME is also included in Tier 3 clinical huddles for the Gainesville hospital and the Braselton hospital. Readiness for the overall GME program is reported daily at the Tier 4 System huddle.