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“Lean”ing into Quality Improvement: A Case Study with a Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program in Ontario

Collective Results recently had the pleasure of working with the Simcoe and Muskoka District Health Unit’s (SMDHU) on a continuous quality improvement (CQI) project for the Healthy Babies Health Children (HBHC) program. HBHC is a free, voluntary home visiting program to support children to get a healthy start in life. HBHC provides services and supports to pregnant individuals and families with children from birth until school age. In particular, HBHC focuses on families experiencing risks that may affect parenting and the healthy growth and development of children. In recent years, the screening rate for this important program has decreased.

Collective Results supported SMDHU with a quick, yet comprehensive, Lean Healthcare-based approach to identifying key strategies to minimize waste and maximize efficiencies in the screening process, and to increase screening rates in their community. Since several members of our team are Lean Green or Yellow Belt certified, we always enjoy breaking out our Lean toolkit and putting some of our favourite CQI tools to work.

We started by gathering information about the screening process from the community partners who implement the screening. By having these thorough, guided conversations, we were able to better understand the assets, barriers, gaps and areas of opportunities for the HBHC screening process across the community. The information collected was mapped to show the varied processes used and synthesized to highlight key themes.

Next, CR facilitated two interactive virtual sessions with SMDHU. The first session focused on a review of the information collected to ensure everyone had a shared understanding of why screening rates had decreased locally. Top areas of concern were identified, and a fishbone exercise was used to identify the root causes of those concerns. The second session focused on identifying and prioritizing potential solutions using a PICK chart activity (difficulty vs payoff). These solutions were created based on CQI approaches, ideas we heard from community partners and additional promising best practices. The final report included a list of prioritized short-term and long-term solutions to increase the HBHC screening rates in the SMDHU region.

We thoroughly enjoyed working with the SMDHU HBHC team. It was so rewarding to move with them through a CQI process that will result in more families having access to this important program that supports healthy growth and development. 

Kiersta Hazlett, Manager of the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program at SMDHU, kindly provided the following words about their experiences working with Collective Results:

“We recently had the opportunity to work with Collective Results on a Continuous Quality Improvement project for our program. The staff we worked with were organized, professional and very prepared with recommendations for how best to go about getting and theming the information we were looking for. They were on top of scheduling regular check-ins and working meetings with us to help us stay on target with our timelines. They handled themselves very professionally in all interactions so we felt very confident they would be able to positively interact with the key players we needed to seek information from. From their project proposal, we knew they were the best fit for this project as they were looking to help us capture good quality qualitative data from our key informants and help us make sense of it in a way that let us end the project with very tangible and achievable recommendations.”

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