In Muskegon on October 27, the Mercy Health Process Excellence team, along with other clinical leaders, hosted the Michigan Lean Consortium’s first-ever health care kata practitioners day. More than 100 people from all over the Midwest gathered in the Hackley Campus Youngberg Auditorium to share their experiences using kata to improve processes in the health care arena.
Attendees learned more about kata through presentations, hands-on simulations and observation of coaching cycles with built-in question and answer sessions. Presenters discussed their implementation of kata practice for problem solving, development of coaching behaviors, assessment of learner proficiency, the obstacles they have encountered and the learning that comes with the experimentation to remove obstacles.
According to the Lean Enterprise Institute, a kata is a pattern you practice to learn a skill and mindset. Through practice, the pattern of a kata becomes second nature and is readily available almost subconsciously. “Specifically, improvement kata teaches you to approach all problems and difficult goals with an experimental mindset that continually starts with understanding where you are right now, and then creating hypotheses to test your way forward to achieving a long term goal,” said Dorsey Sherman, senior process excellence consultant for Mercy Health Muskegon.
“In the context of Mercy Health, kata describes using the scientific method of problem solving, along with deliberate, daily practice with a coach to develop a meta-skill or habit. Meta-skills are seeds of pragmatic knowledge that apply to a wide variety of circumstances including ones we’ve never directly experienced before. Because meta-skills are portable across many environments, they are extremely valuable – much more so than any specific knowledge of a single place or problem. The development of this habit assists colleagues in addressing current and future problems that we do not know how to solve,” said Maurene Stock, senior process excellence consultant.
Kata practices, along with lean methodology were both key principles implemented during the design of the Mercy Health Muskegon new medical center. “We are using the improvement kata and coaching kata approach, specifically – to achieve reductions in length of stay that allow us to fit most effectively into the smaller number of beds available after the consolidation,” said Sherman.
Special recognition goes out to the kata presenters from Mercy Health: Amna Seibold, Jessica Reamsma, Kelly Gorbach, Katie Melching, Amber Reinhart, Anna Weller, Deb Eisen and Kim Maguire.
Do you think your department might benefit from a Process Excellence Facilitator? Fill out the request form to begin the conversation. For additional information on kata, please contact Dorsey Sherman, Maurene Stock, Heather Toppen or Sarah Kolecamp.