1. Healthcare – communications breakdown

    July 4, 2010 by

    Patient handoffs, both within hospitals and elsewhere, are often subject to errors. A 2005 Joint Commission analysis found that 70% of events which resulted in a patient’s death or serious physical/psychological injury were caused by communication breakdowns, half of which occurred during patient handoffs.  Lee Ann Runy [1] writes that The key effective handoffs is to implement processes that clearly define the transfer of responsibility from one caregiver to another, standardize the communication process, and allow for an interactive exchange between the parties involved. The common denominator should always be the patient. Various tools and techniques can be implemented to streamline the handoff process and establish standardised communications. Structured tools e.g. mnemonics, templates or checklists can help to ensure that information is not lost during the handoff, and lead to a timely, accurate exchange of information.
    The following are 10 tips for effective patient handoffs:  [1]

    1. Ensure face-to-face patient handoffs whenever possible
    2. Ensure two-way communication during the handoff process
    3. Allow as much time as necessary for handoffs
    4. Use both verbal and written means of communication
    5. Conduct handoffs at the patient bedside whenever possible. Involve patients and families in the handoff process. Provide clear information at discharge
    6. Involve staff in the development of handoff standards
    7. Incorporate communication techniques, such as the SBAR mnemonic (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation), and require a verification process to ensure that information is both received and understood
    8. In addition to information exchange, handoffs should clearly outline the transfer of patient responsibility from one provider to another
    9. Use available technology, such as electronic medical records, to streamline the exchange of timely, accurate information
    10. Monitor use and effectiveness of the handoff and seek ongoing feedback from staff members.

    [1] R10938 Runy, L. A., (2008), Patient Handoffs, Hospitals & Health Networks, Vol 82, Iss 5, pp 41-47, Health Forum Inc., Chicago

    Neil Crawford

    Members may read the full article here which provides further advice about recognition schemes.

  2. Information Communications Technology (ICT) & the BPIR.com

    September 23, 2009 by

    Hi guys,

    In a series of posts coming over the next few months, we will be demonstrating how the BPIR.com can appeal to specific industries.

    With the broad industry coverage offered by the BPIR.com, some organisations may feel intimidated in joining such a large resource, when they only want industry specific information. We hope these posts will help show our readers that we do have industry specific information!

    For today we will be focusing on the telecommunications industry.

    Even for non-members, we have resources that can help you. Searching for 'telecom' from the search bar, we get results for 5 management briefs.

    Members however can acess a lot more information. Searching the BPIR database for 'Telecom' returned over 200 results:

    • 3 Tools & Techniques Articles
    • 64 Case studies
    • 43 Research Studies
    • 11 Competitors analysis'
    • 2 Business Periodicals
    • 83 Award Winners

    Straight away we can see 206 telecom results. Thats a lot of related reading for any telecom business.

    But lets look one step further in how the BPIR can help you. The BPIR resource is designed to do far more than to find relevant articles. It can also be used to gain access to comprehensive best practice materials. There are a variety of ways to do this.  The BPIR best practices model is one way to find some useful pointers.

    Self assesment –  The first part of the BPIR model involves self assesments. There are 65 assessments in 8 categories. Assesments are sourced from Educational institutes and real world companies, and range from Risk management, to customer orientation assesments, to even assesing your Performance measurment system.  In 3 clicks a self assessment relating to project management can be downloaded and printed. Potential weaknesses or training needs to be evaluated.

    Next a research study could be examined concerning project management tools and techniques. The BPIR site has a rich database of best practices conveniently arranged in “snippet” format to enable you to quickly assess the topic matter’s relevance and then to delve further as required.

    The following snippet outlines a one of many survey's of the tools and techniques used in project management:

    A Web-based survey of 750 US project management practitioners in the Engineering and Construction, Business Services, IT and telecommunications and Industrial Services sectors, examined project management tools and techniques. Analysis revealed that of 70 well-known tools and techniques specific to project management, the top ten tools and techniques used were, in decreasing order, the following:

    1. Progress report.
    2. Kick-off Meeting.
    3. PM Software for task scheduling,
    4. Gantt chart.
    5. Scope statement.
    6. Milestone planning.
    7. Change request.
    8. Requirements analysis.
    9. Work Breakdown Structure.
    10. Statement of work.

    The five least used tools were: Monte Carlo analysis; PM software for simulation; Pareto diagram; Critical chain method and analysis; Cause and effect diagram.

     Source article for members: Link (opens in new window)

     Lets continue with a Kickoff meeting. What is a kickoff meeting you may ask? Searching for this under Strategies, tools, and techniques from the main menu will locate the following description:

    “Project Management – Kick-off Meeting”

    Definition : A meeting at the beginning of the project or at the beginning of a major phase of the project

    Description :
    A kick-off meeting is typically a workshop type meeting to align peoples` understanding of project objectives, procedures and plans, and to begin the team-building process. It may last from 1 to 3 days. It generally include several activities such as a project charter, a business plan review, team building exercises, a team charter, risk analysis,

    A typical project planning kick-off meeting agenda covers the following aspects of a project:

    – Build a project framework: what are the project objectives? who are the stakeholders?
    – What are the criteria for successful completion? What are the business objectives?
    – Update the business plan or business case
    – Organize the project governance: Who does what? What are the responsibilities of each member? What are the reporting procedures?
    – Build or revise the master planning (key milestones, sequence of activities, dependencies)
    – Initiate the risk analysis
    – Team building activities
    – Define the quality management plan, and in particular the change control procedure

    Next you might want to research best practice case studies. The following is an example relating to a UK telecommunications Provider, dated october 2008:

    Customer Focus approach involves back office 

    This snippet and its associated article report on an approach to improve customer focus.

    Concerned that its back office staff had lost customer focus, a UK telecommunications Provider introduced a programme that allowed back office staff to spend a day per year with customer- facing colleagues. The face-to-face experience reconnected the back office staff with the customer and provided them a greater appreciation and focus on the customer needs.

     Source article for members: PDF download


    Thats all for now folks! We will continue with some similar posts relating to how the BPIR can help your organisation.I hope this has given some insight as to how the BPIR can help your organisation.


     Thanks for reading!

    Neil Crawford
    BPIR team