How do you bring a spirit of innovation and change to a 127 year old hospital? Chip Davis, Ph.D., and the first president/CEO of Sibley Memorial Hospital after its merger with Johns Hopkins Medicine is creating healthcare culture change using innovation. Prior to assuming the leadership of Sibley, Chip had been VP of Patient Safety and Quality for Johns Hopkins Health System as well as the Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Innovation and Quality Patient Care. Using the approaches he helped pioneer at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, he sought to steer the Sibley culture in the same direction of leading quality, safety, productivity, and customer service through a new hospital department that fosters innovation – the Sibley InnovationHUB. Chip appointed Nick Dawson to direct the InnovationHUB and to transform Sibley into an innovation hospital.
Nick Dawson is labelled on his business card as “a human” at the InnovationHUB, in part as an acknowledgment of the Hubs informality and lack of a rigid hierarchical structure and also to reinforce the Hub’s primary focus on human-centered thinking. Nick comes from a mixed background of hospital administration and patient-centered innovation. As an interviewer, I had come looking for innovation products, and Nick pointed me to the innovation processes. Every administrator at Sibley Memorial Hospital is responsible for two innovation projects and two productivity projects. With over six hundred projects a year, Nick helps people rapidly prototype and test their ideas, often within a day or two. Nick says, “It’s not a successful project per se,” but empowering the staff as change agents that lies at the success of the program. Chip Davis states even more bluntly, using the words of venture capitalists, “I’m looking for people to fail frequently but quickly.” And out of this failure – and the lessons learned —, the Sibley InnovationHUB is driving a shift of culture at Sibley.
While the process may drive the cultural shift among the hospital employees, several successful projects have become the early stars of the InnovationHUB. Three of these are particularly illustrative. Chip tasked the HUB to help get people on board – help move patients and guests from outsiders to guests. The InnovationHUB looked at examples from industry such as the Apple Store. The on board process included a welcome center and uniforms. Staff were trained to identify and reach out to people in the lobby who looked like they might have a question.
In an another project, InnovationHUB employee Matt Brown RN felt that patient care could be delivered to individuals on a personal level if we knew more about the patients we care for. Matt and the InnovationHUB team created brief biography posters for his patients which were placed in their rooms. The posters led to the creation of “About Me Boards.” While the boards are humanizing for the clinical staff, they also serve as a conversation starting point for the non-clinical administrators that round with the staff and patients for weekly CUSP rounds – Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program.
The nursing staff brought the problem of call buttons to the InnovationHUB. What’s the problem with call buttons? The problem is the call button does everything. Patients have a single button that works for thirst, hunger, mobility, bathroom and pain without distinguishing emergency from convenience. Traditionally, even when you press the button, you might not see the person you need. Further, patients may be shy, and not have needs met. Though the InnovationHUB, patients get ipads with an App that helps them identify what they require. The correct staff member with the correct intervention can help the patient. The program is used in the hospital and in its infusion center.
The Sibley InnovationHUB is on the first floor of the earlier Sibley Memorial Hospital. Floor to ceiling windows and open seating with many whiteboards covered with Post-It notes make the InnovationHUB look like a modern startup. What does an InnovatioHUB run on internally? Scrum. Jim Southerland’s productivity tool, Scrum, is a morning ritual across Silicon Valley as well as for the innovation team. Scrum is a team productivity tool that is usually run on software, and the InnovationHUB team uses a similar program called Dapulse. The team avoids email by using the same internal communication platform used at LinkedIn, PayPal, Google and WordPress; and the tool is called Slack. Slack allows to teams to coordinate effectively and exchange documents.
So where do I get started with innovation at my hospital? See Chip Davis’s video on youtube – Fail Frequently: Lessons Learned by a Hospital President on Fostering Quality and Innovation. Visit the Johns Hopkins Medicine Sibley Memorial Hospital innovationHUB website listenimaginedo.com to get started.
Dr. Chip Davis and Nick Dawson were interviewed by Thomas Masterson, MD, editor, Vox Salutem.