Practice Perfects: Staff Attend Perfecting Patient Care Summer Sessions and Apply It to Their Work

Staff, led by Jennifer Condel, work together on an exercise to build communication and group problem solving skills.

This summer, Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) staff have returned to the classroom to enhance their skills in Perfecting Patient Care (PPC), a Lean-based quality improvement curriculum developed by the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI). 

The training aims to integrate these principles into their work at the Foundation, driving efficiency, eliminating errors, and achieving better outcomes with participants engage in training sessions that cover core PPC concepts through explanations, examples, and collaborative activities, ensuring a deep understanding of systematic problem-solving methods.

Introduced in 2001, PPC leverages robust Lean Organizational Development curriculum, based on Lean concepts from the Toyota Production System and Alcoa Business System to improve healthcare delivery. Initially met with skepticism, PPC has since proven its value, being adopted by numerous hospitals and healthcare systems worldwide. PRHI designed PPC to make "best practice" a practical reality through a transformational, hands-on approach accessible to all organizational members. The PPC curriculum stands out for its comprehensiveness and availability.

Significant milestones in PPC's history underscore its impact.

In 2002, a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control, PRHI, and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System led to an 85% reduction in antibiotic-resistant infections in a post-surgical unit. By 2003, PPC methodologies improved diabetes care at UPMC St. Margaret Lawrenceville Family Health Center and nearly eradicated central line infections at Allegheny General Hospital within 90 days, demonstrating substantial cost savings. PPC's influence extended to long-term care in 2004 when it was introduced at the Jewish Association on Aging. The following year, the Physician Champion Program and JHF grants helped disseminate PPC principles to broader community sectors, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, AIDS programs, addiction treatment, and workforce development.

In 2005, the national healthcare community formally recognized the value of engineering principles in healthcare with a report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering, further validating PPC's approach.

Today, PRHI continues to share this methodology to address current healthcare challenges such as patient safety, staffing shortages, value-based reimbursement, rising costs, inefficiency, and suboptimal outcomes. PPC trainings have been presented to over 20,000 healthcare professionals in 29 states and five countries outside of the United States, including Canada, Israel, South Africa, UK, and South Korea.

The goal of PPC is for sustained learning and application. To support this, PRHI provides coaching sessions at worksites and via teleconferencing, minimizing workplace disruption. These sessions are spread over several months, allowing participants to implement concepts and share experiences with PRHI coaches.

Despite the success of the framework, it has not led to long-term change as large-scale adoption and culture change were major barriers. Over and over, PRHI saw its PPC champions leave units and return to the baseline of their quality and safety.

JHF's continued commitment to PPC training, both internally and externally, reflects a broader effort to foster a culture of continuous improvement and excellence in healthcare and beyond. Through this initiative, JHF aims to lead by example, demonstrating how structured, Lean-based methodologies can transform healthcare delivery for better patient outcomes. 

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