Improving Patient Care at Beaufort Memorial

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Longtime employee to spearhead initiative developed by Toyota

Beaufort Memorial has named its longtime Director of Performance Improvement, Leslie Suda, to head up an innovative initiative designed to improve patient care and financial performance at the not-for-profit hospital.

Leslie Suda
Leslie Suda

As the new Director of Operational Excellence, Suda will spearhead BMH’s participation in the Carolinas Lean Hospital Culture Transformation Collaborative, created by the South Carolina and North Carolina hospital associations in partnership with The Duke Endowment to implement “Lean”, a quality improvement transformation philosophy widely used to identify and streamline business processes.

“This approach always starts with the patient perspective,” said Suda, who has served as BMH’s Performance Improvement Director for 18 years. “At the same time, we’re trying to remove all extraneous work that costs us unnecessary dollars.”

The Lean methodology—developed by Toyota—is fast becoming the quality initiative of choice in the health care industry. Using employee input to create a quality-driven culture, Lean will help BMH improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.

BMH staff members selected to participate in the program will be relieved of their regular duties to brainstorm about ways to become more efficient while enhancing the quality of care.

“Many of our employees have great ideas to improve operations, but they don’t have the time to make the changes because they’re working at their assigned jobs,” Suda said. “In the past, they were lucky to meet every two weeks for an hour. With the Lean approach, they’ll have the opportunity to participate for a full week at a time.”

The three-year collaborative is funded in part by The Duke Endowment. Over the past several months, members of Beaufort Memorial’s administrative team have attended training programs and visited Orangeburg Regional Medical Center—one of the first South Carolina hospitals selected to participate in the Carolinas collaborative—to see Lean in action.

Suda will serve as the hospital’s Lean facilitator, working with other members of the administrative staff to implement the performance-enhancing techniques. In the fall, after the 3rd Floor Unit, the Emergency Department will become the second unit to put the approach into practice.