14. Cellular Model/Patient First System Management (Panel)

Has your organization put great effort into improvement activities, but struggled sustaining them? Have you had trouble retaining point of care managers?  This panel presentation will share the experience of a large integrated health authority in sustaining and aligning quality improvement.

The former Saskatoon Health Region, a recently merged entity of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, is a Lean based healthcare organization that experienced challenges sustaining implemented quality improvement initiatives. Contributing factors included 1) lack of systematic support for department managers to build and strengthen their local teams whilst establishing expectations and managing performance 2) insufficient clarity regarding the role and responsibilities of the manager as they pertain to prioritization and target meeting. In observation and assessment of the organization’s managers it was found that 38% of their daily tasks were deemed non-value added, due to lack of capacity, support, and role specific knowledge.

Based on an environmental scan of high performing healthcare organizations, it was identified that managers required a standardized management model. It is essential that the resources to develop assessment and implementation tools, organizational knowledge, and leadership skills are wrapped around each manager to ensure they understand their business, improve their processes and know and grow their people. Therefore the Cellular Model and the Patient First Management System (PFMS) was developed. PFMS is founded on the principles of the LEADS framework and Lean Organization elements and tools; with the guiding principles of Client & Family Centered Care, respect for people, and leaders teaching leaders.

The Cellular Model was created to develop capacity within the manager role by providing cross-functional supports directly assigned and available to each manager. These support roles include Human Resource Business Partners, Quality Improvement Specialists, and Scheduling. Once the Cellular Model was implemented and capacity was established PFMS training and development began through a leaders teaching leaders model. Sessions are provided on coaching, problem solving, leader standard work, daily visual management, team huddles, gemba (unit/department) walks, purposeful interactions with clients and families. Additionally, physician dyads were created across the organization to better support unit leadership teams.

Outcomes achieved: Managers increased their daily capacity from 3.5% to 24.5%, allowing for better understanding of their business, process improvement initiatives, and the development and enhancement of their team. At present 76% of Saskatoon based Directors are enrolled in the PFMS program. As the Saskatchewan’s health organizations have amalgamated, PFMS will transition into the Saskatchewan Health Care Management System so that provincially we can achieve operational excellence through exceptional care, empowered teams and inspired innovation.

Through the panel presentation and interactive discussion, participants will understand the preparation, implementation and sustainment of the Cellular Model and the Patient First Management System. The panel will discuss training methods, tools, processes and principles that work within the domains of the LEADs framework. Opportunities, lessons learned and outcomes will be discussed and will include point of care management that has been involved in the initiative. Participants will garner practical ideas and insights into setting leaders up for success and enabling system transformation.


Patti Simonar – Saskatchewan Health Authority

Petrina McGrath – Saskatchewan Health Authority

Zoe Teed Mckay – Saskatchewan Health Authority

Heather Miazga – Saskatchewan Health Authority




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