St. Vincent Healthcare

  • Location: Billings, MT
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: September 2013

St. Vincent Healthcare is a 286 bed, regional destination facility that has been serving Billings Montana and its surrounding communities for more than 115 years.  As a faith-based organization motivated by its mission to provide compassionate care and service, St. Vincent Healthcare has become one of Montana's leading comprehensive healthcare providers.  A four state area benefits from the comprehensive range of services offered at St. Vincent's.  Those services include a Level II trauma Center, cardiothoracic and vascular medicine, cancer services, and family-centered maternal and child health programs.  In addition, St. Vincent Healthcare has a Level III NICU and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, state-of-the-art orthopedics services, and the region's most advanced diagnostic services. St. Vincent Healthcare is part of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System, a nine hospital system.

Our Journey with Studer Group

St. Vincent's work with Studer Group began in January 2012.   Our early foundational work focused on the definition and alignment of our hospital goals, the development of our leaders, and the introduction of sequenced Evidence-Based LeadershipSM tactics and LEAN thinking to improve our ability to execute on initiatives.  It has been full steam ahead since the start!

We developed an organizational scorecard using the Studer Group and Evidence-Based LeadershipSM Pillars as a guide and rather immediately, began to migrate leader performance management to the Leader Evaluation Manager® software.   Communication Boards in every department now display the aligned hospital scorecard alongside department specific measures.  Continuous communication of progress is fostered by quarterly Associate Forums. We currently have implementation of a tiered huddle structure in place which will further mature the effectiveness of our communication.  They foster efficient, daily transfer of information of key quality, safety, and operational activities and metrics throughout the organization.   The combination of these important tools and communication strategies have helped associates appreciate that we all have a part in the delivery of safe, quality, and highly efficient care to our patients. 

The vision of St. Vincent's is to be the provider and employer of choice in our community; this was established early on in this process. And strong leadership is critical to doing so.  Since 2011, we have offered two-day Leadership Development Institutes (LDI) on a quarterly basis.  To insure complete alignment and successful on-boarding of new leaders, this year we implemented a formal New Leader Orientation.  New Leader Orientation sessions are held monthly and they incorporate the Evidence-Based LeadershipSM tactics and behaviors as well as the LEAN principles they need to know for early success in their new leadership roles.  A leadership coach is available to assist each individual leader with their own personal development. 

We have introduced Evidence-Based LeadershipSM tactics and behaviors.  Examples include Rounding on Associates, Stop Light Reports, Thank You Notes, Internal Customer Satisfaction Surveys and Internal Customer Rounding, Nurse Leader Rounding, Hourly Rounding® etc.  In doing so, we have learned how we can better execute for success.  The influence of our performance improvement philosophy which is based on LEAN principles has helped us to improve our performance and our ability to execute the Evidence-Based LeadershipSM tactics. 

Merging Evidence-Based LeadershipSM and LEAN

In early 2013, we implemented a systematic planning approach known as Hoshin Kanri.  This Japanese terms translate into "pointing the direction" (Hoshin) and "control" (Kanri).  A specific tool used in the process is called an X-matrix.  This process has helped us cascade organization priorities by assigning owners, actionable plans, and more clear accountabilities.   We very much look forward to the opportunity to present at this year's What's Right in Health Care® Institute on how we have merged Evidence-Based LeadershipSM and LEAN to accelerate the pace of improvement of our quality, safety, operational, and financial results.

Our Results

One and a half years into our Studer Group partnership, the results of our focus and alignment are evident.  Our HCAHPS results for Overall Rating and Would Recommend Hospital are in the top quartile nationally and all other composites have demonstrated positive percentage growth compared to 2012.  St. Vincent's patient satisfaction sum score, which adds the sum of all composite scores, has led our nine hospital system every month since January 2013. Associate turnover is projected to be reduced 25% by year end.  Similarly, we have seen a reduction in patient falls, hospital acquired pressure wounds, and the number of patients who leave our ED prior to receipt of treatment.  The financial impact of our Studer Group partnership is outstanding. 

Our journey is far from over.  2013 is the first full year our leaders have used the Leader Evaluation Manager® for their evaluation and performance management.  As a result of post-visit phone calls, our HCAHPS Discharge Information composite has improved and readmissions have been reduced. Our work is and will remain on-going and the formula for our successful attainment of our goals will be the intentional combination of alignment, action, and accountability.

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