Embracing Change at Rush

By Robert Silverstein

“Change is inevitable-except from a vending machine,” said Robert C. Gallagher, former Chairman and CEO of Associated Banc-Corp. At Rush, we work in an environment of constant change where we challenge the status quo and come up with innovative ways to ensure that our patients are receiving high-quality and safe care.

On one hand, change can be complicated, thus creating a sense of anxiety and uncertainty. However, our ability to manage and adapt to the changes we encounter will provide us with opportunities to improve communication, increase efficiencies, and become more collaborative as we prepare for the opening of the East Tower in January 2012.

My role at Rush University Medical Center allows me to work with patient support services areas to identify process improvement opportunities, provide support around change initiatives, and facilitate communication directly related to our transition into the East Tower as well as the renovations being planned for existing facilities.

Environmental, Linen, and Patient Transport Services are key departments I have been involved with for which the transformation of the Rush campus has presented opportunities to enhance operations and streamline processes across the Medical Center.

In Environmental and Linen Services, we continue to monitor activities related to the automated guided vehicle (AGV) system (see related post) and adjust our procedures in order to increase efficiencies surrounding the distribution of necessary materials across campus.

Additionally, Patient Transport Services has begun to roll out a process improvement initiative concentrated on enhancing the patient experience, improving interdepartmental communications, and creating a culture of accountability and ownership.

It is amazing to be a part of the integration of new concepts and ideas focused on providing a welcoming and supportive environment for patients, families, visitors, employees and students at Rush. The inclusion of leaders and front-line staff across all disciplines in the decision making processes related to their respective areas continues to be an invaluable way to foster relationships and drive change.

Effective change management, whether structural, technological, or behavioral is key to the success of initiatives we are implementing today as well as those we desire to execute in the East Tower and Atrium, at Rush Oak Park, and throughout the outpatient facilities.

Though sometimes difficult, adapting to the changes or modifications in how we are accustomed to performing will be essential as Rush continues to position itself as a leader in the industry. Fortunately, the culture surrounding Rush gives us an advantage over other organizations facing the same issues and constraints in this dynamic health care environment. Leveraging the foundation already in place along with adjusting to internal and external restraints, will help Rush achieve its vision of being recognized as the medical center of choice in the Chicago area and among the very best clinical centers in the United States.

Robert Silverstein is operations process improvement specialist
at Rush University Medical Center.

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