If you want to see how the machine of medicine can be changed, read Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff in the New England Journal of Medicine. Under the leadership of Dr. Melinda Ashton at Hawaii Pacific Health, getting rid of stupid stuff was initiated to improve the inefficiencies of health professionals at the ground level.
This program sought nominations for EHR workflows that didn’t make sense. Specifically, dated, out-of-place clicks and requirements that consumed time and added frustration. After review, selected nominations were selected and changes implemented.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Ashton to discuss how she came up with and executed Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff. More importantly, we addressed how she got Hawaii Pacific Healthcare leadership to buy in to a program that acknowledges internal stupid stuff (spoiler alert: we’ve all got it).
The story behind the name is remarkable. As you’ll hear in the podcast, the name’s irreverent feel played well in terms of winning adoption. Ground level healthcare professionals, of course, can smell administrative double-talk the moment it leaves the c-suite. The concept of referencing inefficiencies as ‘stupid stuff’ was actually key to its ultimate success.
Here’s what drew me in to Dr. Ashton’s project: It shows that in a seemingly unmoveable health care system, we can make incremental changes that make a difference. The program both empowers health professionals and improves the efficiency of care delivery. Perhaps what I find most inspiring is Dr. Ashton’s thinking. It’s focused and driven to improve the system that we all have to live with.
In a healthcare world that wants to add more to a health professional’s zero-sum day, Hawaii Pacific Health is showing us how to improve workflows and respect the voice of those directly delivering care.
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