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 Home News & Events News NEWS ARCHIVE 2014 April - June 2014 Lean Learning spreads through Prairie North Health Region
April - June 2014
Public Health Advisory on Measles issued by Prairie North Health Region
Keep Your Immunizations Up-to-Date: National Immunization Awareness Week April 26 - May 3, 2014
New Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford to Proceed
UPDATE - Public Health Advisory - Three more probable cases of Measles in PNHR
Saskatchewan Increasing Measles Response
Lean Learning spreads through Prairie North Health Region
UPDATE - Additional Case of Measles Reported in PNHR
'Farm Kids' Cookbook wins Nutrition and Oral Health Months Challenge
PNHR Advances New ER System to Improve Patient Experience
Notice of Service Interruption - Cut Knife
Positive Ticketing Returns to Meadow Lake
Positive Ticketing Launches in Pierceland
Province Celebrates First Five Grads from New Critical Care Nursing Program
PNRHA 2014-15 Budget Approved
Making Heat in the Back Seat - Know Your Risk
More Physicians Are Practicing in Saskatchewan, including in Prairie North,
PNRHA Employee Receives Prestigious National Safety Award
Saskatchewan Conducts Investigation into Hepatitis A
Lean Learning spreads through Prairie North Health Region

May 1, 2014

Seven Prairie North Health Region employees are now certified Lean leaders, having learned and applied quality improvement methods that directly impact patient care and improve the patient experience.

Helene Brodbin (Lloydminster), Lionel Chabot (North Battleford), Jody Davidson (Lloydminster), Irene Denis (Meadow Lake), Leita Elder (Lloydminster), Ernie How (North Battleford), and Dr. Almereau Prollius (North Battleford) are the first in Prairie North to meet provincially-set standards for Lean leaders under the Saskatchewan Health Care Management System. Forty-four (44) more employees are in training, and 12 more will start training later this year.

“A lot of hard work goes into becoming a certified Lean leader, and I'm proud of those who have made this commitment. But it's really just a milestone on the journey,” said David Fan, CEO of Prairie North Health Region. “These leaders are now teachers within our organization, using Lean management tools to improve the patient experience in our day-to-day work and through specific improvement projects.”

“This training has given me a number of very effective tools for building teams and empowering staff,” said Prairie North's Director of Population Health Services Ernie How. “I find myself using these tools to gather hard evidence to support decision making, use the ideas and power of the staff, then initiate required change with the staff. Being part of improvement teams with clients and staff who are improving the patient experience and safety is very rewarding work.”

Lean is a patient-centred approach to continuously improving health care and services. Along with all Saskatchewan health regions and health organizations, Prairie North is committed to using Lean methods and processes to eliminate waste, eliminate defects or errors, and improve safety for patients and employees. Lean tools involve patients, families, employees, and care providers in the work.

Certified Lean leaders have demonstrated their understanding of Lean concepts and tools by working with staff in at least three Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIWs) and completing a mistake-proofing project, as well as completing classroom learning requirements.

The projects that contributed to certification for these first seven leaders involved teams of employees, care providers, and patients developing, testing, and sustaining quality improvements in a number of areas including medication preparation and delivery, lab results reporting, and the patient and client experience in accessing health services.

“Lean management has taught us that there is always an opportunity for improvement and has given us the tools to make changes and make them stick,” said Fan. “The work is never done. Putting the patient first is the ongoing commitment that drives us all.”

John Black and Associates, LLC is facilitating deployment of the Saskatchewan Health Care Management System. For more information on the Saskatchewan Health Care Management System and how Lean is being used across the province, visit betterhealthcare.ca.



Lean Leader Certification includes 10 days of classroom and on-the-floor learning, in addition to assigned readings. It also includes participating in, leading, and sub-leading Rapid Process Improvement Workshops (RPIWs) and successfully completing a mistake-proofing project following a five-day tour of various facilities that have fully implemented Lean management.


After three weeks of preparation, teams of patients and family members, staff, and care providers meet for five full days, 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 day intervals to see if the results and new procedures are being sustained.

By March 2015, Prairie North will have completed 27 RPIWs. Our seven Lean leaders took part in the following RPIWs:

  • Effective reporting of lab results to patients in a timely manner – Meadow Lake Primary Health Care Clinic
  • Improving the flow of the patient appointment booking process – Meadow Lake Primary Health Care Clinic
  • Improving the flow of Emergency Room urgent laboratory results from the lab to the ER – Lloydminster Hospital
  • Improving the flow of CTAS 4 and 5 patients through the Emergency Department efficiently and safely – Lloydminster Hospital
  • Improving patient flow in the Endoscopy Unit – Lloydminster Hospital
  • Improving the flow of the client experience at Pediatric Therapies – Co-op Plaza, Lloydminster
  • Improving the flow of supplies to Rehabilitation Units 1 and 3 – Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford
  • Standardizing the Operating Room scheduling process – Regional
  • Improving the flow of medications – Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford
  • Improving patient flow from registration to patient rooming in Emergency – Battlefords Union Hospital

Mistake-Proofing Projects

Mistake proofing uses Lean methodology to examine the root causes of errors and aims to prevent them before they create defects (an error that is passed down the line to the patient). Mistake proofing eliminates rework and reduces costs.

Our seven Lean leaders worked in teams to complete these mistake-proofing projects:

  • Improving and implementing Heparin policy and procedure – Regional
  • Ensuring falls prevention standard work was followed – Battlefords District Care Centre
  • Ensuring use of accurate medical history for ordering medications on discharge – Battlefords Union Hospital
  • Eliminating deep vein thrombosis in the post-operative period while hospitalized – Lloydminster Hospital

For a print-friendly version of the news release and backgrounder, click here.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Linda Lewis, Communications Officer
Prairie North Health Region

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