Since we are committed to getting better at what we do we must be willing to do the hard work necessary to get and understand the right information about how our services are influencing our clients/patients in the first place. This is the value of a Linear Service Model. There are several elements required for an organization to begin to collect reliable information in order to make targeted changes to stay on the cutting edge of service. One of those things is an agreement on definition of terms. For example, it is not enough to agree that an abortion-minded woman is someone who says she wants to have an abortion, or that a woman who is assessed as “Carry to Term” is one who says that she does not want an abortion. We must create a system of defining and assessing each woman used by each client advocate or nurse with each woman the same way. CompassCare’s system for doing just that is called the Abortion Vulnerability Rating Scale (AVRS).
Another necessity for organizations serious about continually improving is the standardization of services. This means that everyone from the people who answer the phones, to receptionists, to advocates, to nurses all perform their job the same way each time with little variation. The more variation in the way a task is performed the more difficult it becomes to assess what is not working and what to do to fix it. In some cases this requires scripts, sometimes training in the use of forms, sometimes a dress code but whatever is required disciplined thought always gives way to disciplined action, “What gets measures (disciplined thought), gets fixed (disciplined action).” If we as executives are disciplining ourselves and our organizations to improve it will almost always result in very specific actions that measurably improve on those things.
Another crucial element to measuring with an eye to improving is team work. A team that is committed to improving for the sake of the mission is a unified team. A team that does not know what they are trying to accomplish, will never know when they will arrive. This breads discontent, confusion, and mission drift. Clearly defining what you want to accomplish and what that means will provide focus to your staff and volunteers in a way that will empower them to do what is necessary to improve.
Above all, it is important to note that it is not the specific Linear Service Model that an organization uses that makes the difference. It is what the executive does to create a culture of continuous improvement that matters in the end. We are all of us on a journey and in many respects the journey is the destination. The days of believing that once we have added Ultrasound technology we will have arrived are over. Ultrasound technology is simply a tool. And those of us who have paved the way of developing and implementing a LSM understand that while the services offered by our PRCs are important the manner in which those services are provided are even more so.
CompassCare’s OT training program provides the only LSM with a customized web based patient database with a system to serve clients/patients that can be measured and changed. For more information go to prcoptimizationtool.com.
Update: See Linear Service Model = Continuous Improvement, Part 1