March 2010

Change Leadership is a Fixture at Saint Clare's

Since Saint Clare's Health System, Denville, NJ, joined CHI in spring 2008, the four-hospital MBO has also become a wellspring of change leadership.

"We have 100 leaders at Saint Clare's who have been trained in change leadership," said Mary Bobertz, vice president of strategy management and planning. "That gives us a foundation for implementing change quickly and effectively. It also helps our leaders think about change in the same, consistent way."

Before Saint Clare's joined CHI, its employees had some experience learning about change management, but did not fully implement a change leadership initiative. After becoming part of CHI, Saint Clare's adopted CHI's change leadership methodology, which is adapted from a successful methodology used by GE Healthcare.

CHI's methodology relies on two sets of tools: the Change Acceleration Process (CAP), and WorkOutTM. CAP has seven components that include shaping a vision, mobilizing commitment and making change last. WorkOut is a highly focused process in which a problem is discussed and a solution crafted by those closest to it.

"Within both CAP and WorkOut, there are lots of tools and templates for us to use," said Lynda Buntin, director of food and nutrition services for Saint Clare's. "We can pick the tools that fit the needs of different projects.

"Overall, change leadership gives us a helpful, positive structure for change," Buntin continued. "In nutrition, we have four areas of focus - environmental protection, marketing, customer service and healthy dining. Our FIT (Food Innovation Team) Committee is using CAP and WorkOut to advance all of them."

For example, patient satisfaction scores have improved since the committee led the process of implementing healthy changes to Saint Clare's menus. "We're also working on having staff who deliver patient trays ask patients about their satisfaction," said Buntin. "We're in patient rooms at least three times a day, and we can use that time to help improve overall patient satisfaction."

Alyssa Adonis, a Six Sigma black belt and certified change agent at Saint Clare's, uses change leadership methodology to help implement change in many areas. Patient flow, patient rounding, medication evaluation for behavioral health patients, central scheduling, point of service collections - all have recently been improved through change leadership.

The behavioral health medication project reduced the time it takes to complete a medication evaluation session. Adonis used CAP tools to help psychiatrists map the medication evaluation process step by step, identifying barriers and tasks that took excess time. "It took just two four-hour meetings to get a solution to the pilot stage," said Adonis. "We conservatively estimate that the reductions we can make in evaluation time will allow our psychiatrists to schedule 5,000 more patient visits per year, and will save approximately $170,000."

Change leadership has become so integral to Saint Clare's that it is always part of the monthly management meeting. "One or two managers attend each meeting to talk about their change leadership experiences," said Bobertz. "It's great recognition of their achievements and a way to keep spreading the practice of change leadership."

For more information, contact Mary Bobertz,