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Alliant Health System: A Vision of Total Quality Essay

1. Is Alliant’s strategy Sound? What does it have to do well to succeed?

a. No strategy is totally sound.b. On paper, Alliant’s strategy would seem sound but, even though over the past five years they have made progress, Alliant has hit a few snags along the way that has prevented their strategy from becoming truly sound. i. They have only been able to lay down a foundation.c. Alliant is faced with “a culture and a climate that is inhospitable to the TQM philosophy.” ii. CEO Wolford states the he cannot “point to any one area that demonstate[s] we are substantially better than our competition.”d. “Alliant had achieved breakthroughs in organizational learning at each step in their TQM journey.” e. CARES+ – “basic outline for quality goal-setting and review”; bureaucraticf. EQUIP – “employees used it as a substitute for talking to their managers about day-to-day issues”

g. Quality Improvement Teams – weren’t able to “bite off little pieces” and instead tried to solve “world hunger” problems; only able to come up with programs but was not capable implementing them; some have been “going on for over a year with nothing to show for it” h. Critical Paths – Unable to monitor rate of compliance, statistics was anywhere from 2% to 70% i. Have to do well to succeed:iii. Alliant needs to get everybody on board with Total Quality Management (TQM) for their strategy to succeed. 1. The quality process still needs a jumpstart.2. Some physicians are reluctant to adopt the new way of thinking. iv. Implement an IT system that “support[s] TQM and provide[s] Alliant with the information it need[s] to manage its evolution into the health care organization of the future.” v. Create a central quality organization that could come up with programs and implement them.

2. How well have they implemented the quality strategy?

j. Alliant came up with guiding principles and a 10-point action plan to help introduce TQM to the organization through quality management teams (QMT).

vi. Alliant was thorough in making sure their quality strategy was implemented systematically through targeted programs and processes that would help their “organization achieve a competitive advantage based on the management of quality. “

vii. They implemented the quality stategy well in the first year because after Petersdorf died in 1987, “quality had already taken root” and “one of the board’s primary selectin criteria for Petersdorf’s replacement was a commitment to total quality management.”

k. In the second year of implementation, Alliant saw their most profitable year in the history of the company. l. Four components of TQM strategy were implemented pretty well: viii. CARES+ process “diffused rapidly across Alliant”; Were “making the transition from traditional planning to quality improvement”; found quality planning process to be highly effective ix. EQUIP allowed employees to voice their ideas; helped communicate between employees, managers, and executives

x. Quality Improvement Teams “prescribed specific analytical tools and walked a team from problem statement through actions, results, and future plans”; drilled right to the core of performance issues; applied statistical process control techniques to cash flow to bring the receivables range down

xi. Critical Paths worked; was able to shorten length of hospital stay for coronary artery bypass graft surgeries from 17 days to 13 days and reduced average costs from $41,863 to $35,843; saved Alliant almost $1 million in 1990; moves process along if everyone works with the same time frame in mind

3. Assess Alliant’s information technology agenda/strategy.

m. Believed information technology (I/T) is a key in the future strength of TQM n. Need “expert systems – computers to help the mind” o. “Was a shift in focus: to patient-oriented systems rather than functional, “stove pipe” applications that met narrow departmental needs. p. Physicians, clinical support professionals, and administrators could share information and drive continuous improvement in service q. “HELP offered advice on possible diagnoses, cost-effective treatments, resource scheduling, and drug contraindications.”

r. New I/T strategy offered significant advantages over Alliant’s existing patchwork of stand-alone systems: xii. System worked concurrently – advice was available as patient was being treated xiii. Had the potential to improve coordination dramatically by collecting data from all corners of the hospital into a single patient-centered system 3. This would minimize patient costs and stay and the quality of care would be improved by eliminating “inappropriate procedures, unnecessary waiting time, and ineffective treatments.”

4. Would you proceed with HELP?

s. Yes
xiv. HELP would bring together Alliant’s hospitals and technically make it one working unit by providing a single patient-oriented system that had all data of a patient from every area of the hospital in one computer making Alliant efficient, productive, and quality focused. xv. This would allow information to be shared and eliminate all repeat and unnecessary procedures and allow a shorter waiting time because information would not have to be collected again. xvi. In effect, HELP would improve quality.

5. What would you do to make sure the implementation is successful?

t. Make sure that the process works for us rather than us work for the process u. Take everything one step at a time; analyze little by little instead of taking in everything at once v. Make sure everybody was on board with Total Quality Management by restructuring the culture and climate in making TQM more hospitable w. Train managers with a familiar interface as that of HELP xvii. This would help with a smooth short-term transition and involve fewer hiccups. xviii. “Stabilize the existing infrastructure, lay the foundation for HELP, and begin to make some progress on automating support for TQM”

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