In October 2006, Virtua Health, aided by a team of Black Belts and Lean consultants, completed a Kaizen event at Tatem Brown Family Practice. A Kaizen event is a three-and-a-half day burst of continuous improvement activities where changes are ainstormed, try-stormed, validated and implemented by a small team of process experts (frontline staff) primarily from the focus area. Tatem Brown Family Practice is a combined physician group practice and a university-affiliated residency-training program of Virtua Health. The dual role of the center is to provide comprehensive medical care for the entire family and to educate resident physicians in the specialty of family medicine.
Pre-work for the Kaizen included gathering time study data on patient encounters and the back office medical records process to understand process steps, distances traveled and opportunities for improvement. Though the ultimate goal of the practice is to eventually go to an electronic medical record system, there were critical workflow changes that needed to be ironed out prior to implementation.