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ABP’s Lean Way to Quality

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 09:00

Lisa Elliott and Amy OlsonWhile board-certified pediatricians work to improve the care they provide children, the ABP also seeks to improve the certification process for pediatricians. The ABP staff uses a systematic, yet rapid-change, approach called lean. Lean activities — such as process-mapping exercises, root-cause analysis, and standardization of work — help identify and eliminate wasteful steps in any process and maximize value for the pediatricians the ABP serves.

“As the Board transforms to a lean culture, we are making a fundamental change in the way we think, what we value, and how we complete our work,” says Keith Mann, MD, MEd, ABP Vice President for Continuing Certification. “Following the spirit of the ABP mission, the staff is committed to continuous learning and improvement, knowing the approach will help improve the ABP’s Lean Way to Quality certification process for pediatricians, which can positively impact the health outcomes for children, adolescents, and young adults.”

In 2019, the ABP held lean workshops to improve the following processes:

  • ABP staff ABP staff members from different departments collaborate to improve the experience of ABP volunteers.Orienting volunteers who are new to writing examination questions;
  • Reviewing, revising, and approving potential exam questions;
  • Sending customized, informational emails to candidates and pediatricians; and
  • Promoting volunteer opportunities and efficiently collecting and synthesizing application information.

Each workshop is a four-day immersive experience with cross-functional teams dedicated to improving a given process with the idea of eliminating unnecessary or redundant steps and maximizing both the efficiency and the quality of what we are setting out to improve. Most teams accomplish in four days what would usually take a year or more of monthly meetings. More than half of the ABP staff has participated in at least one workshop.

“In each workshop, we work on making our processes more efficient and effective,” says Travis Dodson, MBA, ABP Operations Manager and lean facilitator. “By equipping our staff members to identify problems and inefficiencies in the way we do things, we can provide a better certification experience for pediatricians.” Dodson and Amy Hodak, ABP Director of MOC Administration, have led the lean effort at the ABP since 2016.

This year, an additional 15 ABP staff members were trained as lean facilitators, demonstrating the priority the ABP places on process improvement.