Managing Process Change in a Challenging Public Sector Environment

Description

Many process improvement efforts are partial or complete failures. Process improvement in the public sector is even more daunting. This report describes the challenges, program components, change management strategy, and lessons learned from a comprehensive healthcare quality improvement program in a large county jail, and covers planning, management, preparation and involvement of staff, the role of outside consultants, and the value of a Quality Management System (QMS) driven approach to organizational change.

Abstract

Many new process improvement efforts are partial or complete failures. An entire literature exists to explain the high rate of failure, and to describe methods to improve the odds of success. The introduction of process improvements in the public sector is even more daunting. Weak or distracted leadership, legacy processes and tools, and entrenched workforces, often represented by powerful unions, present significant challenges to the successful implementation of new methods, even when the need to change is clear. This presentation describes the simultaneous implementation of a patient data management system (PDMS) and a quality management system (QMS) in the clinics of a large county jail. The organization is under significant pressure to improve performance, and management is determined to modernize and streamline healthcare delivery. This report describes the challenges, the program components, the change management strategy, and successes and failures to date. The focus is on lessons learned and includes planning, management, preparation and involvement of staff, the role of outside consultants, and the value of a QMS-driven approach to organizational change.

Author(s): Richard Blackwell, Cermak Health Services

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