AHS provides integrated health care for over 4 million residents of the province of Alberta. Featuring 106 hospitals as well as urgent care, specialty clinics, continuing care, laboratories and primary care, AHS was formed through one of the largest mergers in Canadian history.
As the organization sought unify its regions and clinical practices, Pivotal was engaged to drive an ambitious effort: develop and deploy a common, effective approach to improve access, quality and efficiency of care. Our first step was to bring together various stakeholders—many with their own preferred models—and agree on a single, robust improvement roadmap. The outcome—dubbed the AHS Improvement Way (AIW)—leveraged Lean, Six Sigma, process design, and change management methods. We then worked on socializing, training and applying the new roadmap to dozens of large and small improvements, working with AHS executives, hospital leaders, clinical and support functions, while building a cadre of internal AIW Advisors. We provided consulting support for high-profile efforts including “Care Transformation” at the University of Alberta Hospital, a multi-site Emergency Department Flow program to streamline patient decisions and a provincial project to find efficiencies in areas of high-cost variation.
Driven by changes guided by the AHS Improvement Way, AHS has emerged as one of the top-rated public health systems in Canada, despite political turmoil and budget challenges. Units are expected to continually improve service and care. One success example: The “Baby’s Journey” team in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit at an Edmonton hospital streamlined lab work, reduced hand-offs across care teams, improved capacity and—most importantly—improved parent satisfaction with care.