Increasing Staff and Equipment Efficiency
By Jennifer Lohry, MHHS, RT(N)(MR)(CT), CNMT
I was given a choice of many interesting healthcare facilities, but I ultimately chose Scottsdale Healthcare for my Partners in Learning site visit because of the unique staffing matrix that host Julie Hughes has developed and implemented at Scottsdale’s facilities. I also chose it because of its geographic location; I am located in the Midwest and was curious to learn if there are any differences in radiology procedures in another region of the country.
Scottsdale Healthcare is comprised of three hospital campuses – Shea Medical Center, Osborne Medical Center, and Thomas Peak Hospital – as well as an urgent care facility, two surgery centers, and a primary care office. These facilities are located within a 30-mile radius and are the primary hospital facilities for the Scottsdale, AZ area. I received a tour of each hospital and was impressed with the consideration for patient comfort in the design of the radiology suites. Another aspect of the design that I appreciated was the addition of common work areas between modalities, which allows for more open communication and staff interaction than a design that places each modality into its own space.
The radiology department developed a plan to manage their equipment and staff in order to maximize flexibility while still providing coverage for each hospital, utilizing one pool of technologists. The technologists are able to move from site to site to provide coverage based on the daily caseload. This matrix allows for a leaner, more developed, and satisfied staff while providing services to multiple sites.
The department also increased efficiency by staying vendor specific with each modality, which allows for procedures and protocols to remain constant at each site. In addition to observing the staffing matrix, I was able to participate in two levels of staff huddles at all three sites, which are very similar to procedures at my facility.
My facility, Akron Children’s Hospital, has recently started to plan equipment purchases and staffing with the intent of providing “apples to apples” services across the entire system. The idea of staff moving from one facility to another is developing slowly due to the longer distance between facilities; however, ultrasound, MRI and nuclear medicine all have personnel who work at multiple sites. This has increased teamwork and camaraderie between sites.
The Lean thought process has spread into healthcare organizations across the country, enabling managers to think differently about how to improve the safety and comfort of patients without adding expense or lengthy procedures. The staffing matrix utilized at Scottsdale Healthcare follows the Lean methodology by developing a plan to shift staff to high volume areas and maintain the safety and satisfaction of both the patients and staff, without compromising – a personalized touch so desperately needed in healthcare.
I would like to thank Julie Hughes and all of her staff at each site for the wonderful and educational experience they provided. They were transparent in their process, which added to the experience. I would also like to thank the AHRA and GE Healthcare for sponsoring this program and giving radiology managers the opportunity to grow and experience different leadership and departmental policies across the country.
Jennifer Lohry, MHHS, RT(N)(MR)(CT), CNMT is the supervisor of radiology and outpatient lab at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, OH. She can be reached at email@example.com.