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Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region Uses Lean to Deliver Sooner, Safer, Smarter Patient Care


To support Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region’s (RQHR’s) efforts to provide sooner, safer, smarter surgical care, RQHR has just completed a Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW), a Lean tool focused on the design of a short stay surgical unit at the Pasqua Hospital. A team comprised of patients and family members, staff, clinicians and an RQHR senior leadership team member presented their findings today.

“This work will help us to implement ways to help get closer to attaining our surgical targets,” said Keith Dewar, president and CEO of the RQHR. “We are striving to improve surgical patients’ care experience and continue to work toward ensuring that, by 2014, all patients will have the option of receiving their surgery within three months.”

The RPIW looked at processes through the eyes of patients to uncover ways to better serve patients and make the space and resources efficient. The team looked at the creation of standard work, the elimination of wasted movement (i.e. shift walking distance for nurses) and the elimination of unnecessary patient waits (i.e. in-unit patient time post-op to discharge time).

The new eight-bed unit will accommodate patients who need hospital care for up to 48-72 hours. It will serve as a model for a second, 12-bed unit to be located at Regina General Hospital. Both units will open this spring.

“These short stay units will enable the health region to increase hospital capacity for surgical patients, thus freeing up beds in other areas of the hospitals to be used for longer stay surgical and emergency care, ” said Trent Truscott, executive director of Surgical Care Services for the health region.

RQHR’s Patient Surgical Initiative aligns with the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative and focuses on elevating the standards of excellence in patient care delivery.

“Participating in this exercise has allowed me to better understand the current system and provide input from a patient perspective,” said Donna Strudwick, a patient participant in the RPIW. “I have a better appreciation for the challenges that are facing our health care system and how patients can be more proactive with their care. For example, we as patients can be checking in with our health care team about our discharge plans upon admission.”


An RPIW is a Lean tool. Lean is a patient-centred approach to health care that engages employees and patients to find ways to improve processes and eliminate waste so that every patient served receives reliable, safe and timely care.

Rapid process improvement workshops (RPIWs) began in the fall of 2012 in RQHR. They focus on the Region’s priority areas and are led by senior leaders and supported by members of the Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO). After four weeks of intense preparation, teams of patients and family members, staff, and clinicians meet for a week, focus on one problem, identify the root causes, create and test solutions and, by week’s end, are ready to implement the solution in the workplace. The team checks the solution at 30, 60, and 90 days to see if the results and new procedures have been sustained. By December 2013, RQHR will have conducted 43 RPIWs.

Through shared targets, and by using powerful Lean methodology and tools, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health, health regions and agencies are aligning strategically to “think and act as one.” Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, with its provincial colleagues, is committed to the shared vision of Better Health, Better Care, Better Teams and Better Value.

For More Information:
Carol Reynolds
Media Relations Consultant
RQHR Communications
Phone: (306) 766-0889