It’s back to school time! College bound students and their parents are having a lot of mixed feelings. There’s the excitement and anxiety of starting something new, maybe far from home. And for the parents, the goodbyes and the reality of being an empty nester may just be sinking in. Parents sense that they’ve done their job and now, it’s launch time.
There are questions college students hate to hear – “what are you planning to study?”; “what do you want to do when you graduate?” They need to find their passion first. And who knows what kind of jobs will be there come graduation time.
Many of today’s jobs didn’t even exist 5 or 10 years ago. If you are on social media at all, you will see tons of job opportunities for just that – social media experts. But it’s just over a decade for two of the giants – Facebook and LinkedIn, and less than 10 years for Twitter.
And at the intersection of cars and technology, do you suppose the people working at Mcity thought 10 years ago that this is what they’d be doing? Continue reading
I’ve written about gemba walks. Gemba is the Japanese word for “the real place” or that place where the work is done.
I am fond of a quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you are 1,000 miles from the corn field.” While I don’t know the specific context for the quote, it applies to business today. As leaders, unless we see the way work happens on the front line, we cannot understand the problems we need to solve and the barriers we need to remove. That doesn’t happen by just meeting in a conference room.
All hospital leaders were assigned to do at least three gemba walks this summer. The walks are supposed to be an example of each of the following:
- patient and family experience such as observing check-in
- front line staff experience such as shadowing someone or attending a unit’s daily huddle
- “break out of your silo” experience such as observing one of your downstream customers or walking a “value stream” (a high level view of how work gets accomplished across multiple departments and physical locations)
We are expected to Continue reading
One of the latest social media campaigns is raising awareness about engineering fields not being just for men. If you haven’t seen it, let me explain. A 22 year old woman, Isis Anchalee, was part of an ad campaign for her San Francisco based company, OneLogin.
Isis Anchalee started #ILookLikeAnEngineer in response to social media commenters that claimed she did not look the part.
Some people did not believe she was an engineer when they saw the ads. And so the negative and sexist comments began. Ms. Anchalee chose the high road and started a social media campaign with hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer. Within hours, tens of thousands of women in engineering jobs had posted their own picture with the hashtag.
With the very divisive language currently dominating the presidential campaign including negative comments aimed at women, what should we as leaders be doing? As always, we should be promoting diversity, common decency, and respectfulness in all our language, behaviors, and practices. We should expect nothing less from each other as people. Continue reading
Last week I joined the second “Summer Walk” that the MHealthy champions in our IT department organized. It was a 1.5 mile round trip between our two main office facilities during the lunch hour. We had about 60 participants for each walk. What a great way to get some exercise, connect with colleagues and show our shared commitment to healthy living!
I wasn’t planning to do the walk when I first saw the announcements and flyers around our office. I expected that I had meetings during that time. But when one of the MHealthy champions reached out directly and asked me to show my commitment to healthy living, how could I say no? It turned out that I could join them if I left a meeting 15 minutes early. I’m glad I did; literally “walking the talk”.
Our department is so committed that we were recently recognized as being one of the top performing areas, with 58% of employees participating in the University’s MHealthy Rewards program. More than 21,000 people throughout the University took advantage of the annual opportunity to review their health status, develop an action plan for improvement, and participate in helpful programs and services such as Active U, Weight Watchers, tobacco treatment, or stress-management programs. This is the program’s seventh year.
Our department’s MHealthy workgroup is developing new plans for activities and events to promote physical activity, healthy eating, and other positive health behaviors. The Summer Walks on the last Friday of each month are just the beginning.
They have also started a FitBit community for the department. Continue reading
Say that title fast! We held our quarterly IT leadership retreat this week. As we continue on our lean journey, I decided a field trip was in order.
James Goebel explains how employee can see their scheduled tasks on the resource management digital board at Menlo Innovations.
We spent two hours at Menlo Innovations getting a private group tour from co-founder James Goebel. To prepare, we read the “The Joy of Lean Innovation: A Case Study of Menlo Innovations” and listened to a Gemba Academy podcast of an interview with Richard Sheridan, Menlo Innovation’s founder and CEO. Many others from University of Michigan Health System have visited Ann Arbor based Menlo over the years. I’d been encouraged to make a visit by my lean coach, Margie Hagene, and our internal UMHS lean champion, Dr. Jack Billi.
Menlo is a software design and development company. But we weren’t visiting to understand their approach to software. Rather, we wanted to understand how they have applied lean principles to run their business and create the culture that Richard Sheridan describes in his book, “Joy, Inc. – How We Built a Workplace People Love.”
Two of our new IT directors are in their third week, so we started the retreat by each describing the most effective leadership team experience we’ve had. The themes that emerged Continue reading
That old saying “stop and smell the roses” could be updated for the road warriors among us to “stop and look at the incredible aerial views”. Recently, I was on a flight that included the dreaded holding pattern and circling.
The destination airport was closed due to heavy fog. But out my window was a beautiful sight. Light, fluffy clouds and green forests dotted with little towns as far as I could see.
I had been doing my usual on a business trip…..catching up on email and work reading. I prefer aisle seats but this flight I ended up in a window seat. So with a great view, why not “stop and smell the roses” a bit. Or call it being mindful as many of us are now trying to be more often– fully aware and in the present moment.
The pace we go is faster and more intense than we may like. Weekends are filled with commitments, errands, and more work. I think “what would it have been like to live the slower or simpler life of my grandparents,” but then I’m quickly back to reality. I do appreciate the many advances we take for granted.
We’re in constant motion. Continue reading
If you don’t know what an “A3” is, don’t worry. When I started at University of Michigan Health System, I didn’t either. When I first saw an A3 meeting on my calendar, I asked “What group is that?”
There were so many groups with different acronyms! Turned out it was a meeting with a few colleagues to update our status report on major UMHS IT initiatives. We were using an A3 format for our report.
So what is an A3? It is a tool used as part of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). The A3 name actually comes from the paper size (11 x 17 sheet) that tells a story laid out from the upper left-hand side to the lower right.
Telling the story of a problem on an A3 includes looking at the background (why and what), describing its current condition (where things stand), and doing a root cause analysis. And then, establishing goals and targets, proposing countermeasures, making an action plan and determining success metrics. Continue reading
People often ask me, “How do you find time to write”? I have been writing this blog every week for over a year. A very senior leader in our organization who always compliments my writing told me recently, “If you can find time to write it, then I can find time to read it”. I appreciate all the comments on the posts where people share their own perspective and stories.
It is a weekly discipline. But knowing that the content is appreciated and has an impact keeps me going. Writing has also been a great method of reflection for me – Hansei as the Japanese call it.
I guess with over 450 subscribers and more than 27,000 views to date, it’s more than just my family and closest friends who are reading it – that’s all most bloggers ask for.
Regular subscribers get an email notification for each new post. Beyond that, how do I reach readers? I promote each post through the usual social media channels – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter — each of which has its own particular audience. I also promote my posts through Next Wave Connect, a social media platform focused on health care. I’m grateful to Anthony Guerra and Kate Gamble at HealthSystemCIO.com for re-posting most of my blog entries; my CIO colleagues who aren’t connected on social media will see them there. And now I publish some posts directly on LinkedIn at the request of one of my connections. He said it would make it easier to share with all of his connections. Continue reading
I usually stay away from politics here, but last Friday was just too monumental. On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled definitively in favor of marriage equality. It’s now the law of the land, and for me, it’s personal.
Many families have secrets. Something everyone knows but nobody talks about. But that sounds so yesterday. And yes, for many it is. Yet many families still struggle with acknowledging that a loved one is gay or lesbian. Yes, family secrets – we all have them.
My family is no different. My Aunt Dorothy was born in 1914 and died in 1997 at the age of 83. She lived her entire adult life with her partner, Teal. There was never an open discussion in our family; to us, they were just “life-long friends”. Dorothy and Teal met while serving in the Women’s Army Core (WAC) during WWII, and lived together until Teal died in 1990.
Dorothy, a life-long Roman Catholic never heard a Pope say, as Pope Francis has, “who am I to judge?”
The pain of same sex couples to be accepted and respected in our society was never more evident for me than when Teal was in her final days. Dorothy had cared for her at home as long as she could, but once Teal was hospitalized, the hospital staff ignored Dorothy.
Dorothy was there all day every day and managed all of Teal’s care, but when Teal died the hospital didn’t call her. They called Teal’s nephew instead who had visited her only once or twice while there.
Dorothy walked into Teal’s room to find an empty bed. Continue reading
If you remember the CHIN (Community Health Information Network) attempts in the 1990s or the next incarnation in the mid-2000s referred to as RHIOs (Regional Health Information Exchange), you know we’ve been on this interoperability journey in health care a very long time. And it’s not over.
Creating sustainable Health Information Exchanges (HIE), not to be confused with a Health Insurance Exchange, is what we are all focused on now. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap” for public comments earlier this year. There has been progress over the years but we still have a long ways to go.
The ability to easily access and share data with other health care providers in Michigan is critical for UMHS – we are the only provider in the state that serves patients from every county. But HIEs are important for all providers regardless of their reach. For example, when a patient shows up at an emergency room away from their primary hospital and physician, basic information should be readily available. This includes a patient’s current problem summary list, allergies, chronic conditions, and medications. Having this kind of information can make a qualitative difference in their care. And knowing that a certain test or procedure has recently been done along with the results can avoid duplication, saving both time and money.
Yet, unlike other industries where basic information is easily accessible and shared, health care lags far behind. Continue reading