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Lackland's Wilford Hall embraces innovation to enhance patient health care

  • Published
  • By By Staff Sgt Christopher Carwile
  • 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs
The 59th Medical Wing is on a mission to enhance its world-class health services by promoting a climate of patient-centered care and process improvement.

To achieve this positive change, 59th MDW Commander Maj. Gen. Bart Iddins sparked two new initiatives he hopes will inspire and empower men and women at the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and associate medical groups at nearby Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

"General Iddins passionately believes in serving the men and women of the United States military and their families with the best health care, regardless of whether they are active-duty, Guard, Reserve, retired, or family members," said Maj. Janet Blanchard, the 59th MDW's new chief of Business Innovation.

"That's why we are pushing forward with business innovation initiatives. We will be focusing our efforts in several areas - primarily the customer experience and performance improvement," said Blanchard. The 59th Medical Wing has been offering seminars throughout July that have focused on teaching leaders how to lead innovative change. The seminars have been based in part on a concept called the Golden Circle.

The Golden Circle model was developed by Simon Sinek and published in his book Start with Why. The book guides leaders with motivating their people by having them ask and find answers to why they are doing what they do at work. The idea is that by starting with the "why" instead of with the "how" or "what," people will gain an appreciation for what they do and find ways to mutually promote success and achieve excellence.

"We don't talk about the 'why' often enough," said Blanchard to several flight chiefs and commanders during a Leading Innovative Change briefing. "It is up to us as leaders to set the conditions for our people to be successful.

"If we concentrate on why we are doing what we do, then it will guide us into making the right decisions. The key, however, is making sure that the 'how' and 'what' are supporting 'why', and not the other way around," she said.

To Iddins, the 'why' is clear.

"It's the people we frequently see in our facilities and around base. These are the people we are privileged to take care of, active and retired. These are people who consciously give their lives to save others," he said.

Another initiative being leveraged by Iddins and other wing leaders is the Lean Daily Management system, or LDM. LDM is derived from a system Toyota uses to improve processes and gain optimal efficiency in production.

The 59th Medical Operations Group learned the LDM process from civilian partners at the Baptist Healthcare System. Success with the program has led Iddins to employ LDM throughout all the organizational groups.

"LDM is a tool we use to strategically track our processes and find areas for improvement," said Col John Andrus, 59th MDOG commander. Once an area is identified, a goal is set and metrics established until a solution is found on how to make the overall process more efficient."

"Combining the Golden Circle approach with LDM helps us focus on the reasons why we provide medical care, and how we can become more efficient at doing it," said Blanchard. "Ultimately, it's about optimizing patient care and providing outstanding customer service for our patients."

"We cannot move forward with providing preeminent medical care if we do not empower our people to make the necessary changes," said Iddins.

"We're open to new ideas on what we should be doing to improve the customer experience, ideas that will come from our young Airmen and junior NCOs," he said. "If we are to be successful, as leaders, it's our job to promote and not squash this new way of thinking."