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NEWS | June 17, 2015

Guam Sailors Impress Admiral with Process Improvement Strategies

By Jennifer M. Zingalie U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Public Affairs

During his annual command visits throughout the region, Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, commander, Navy Medicine West, made it to U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Guam just in time to participate in its semiannual Process Improvement (PI) Fair, June 16.

The fair proved to be a segue for him to discuss military medicine's goal of fostering High Reliability Organizations (HRO).

"I was impressed by all the projects, in fact some of them provided some great lessons learned that I am excited to take back with me and share throughout Navy Medicine West," said Gillingham.

According to Gillingham, being an HRO does not mean a command is perfect, but rather provides a climate in which people are not afraid to speak up, regardless of their rank, when something does not seem right. It also means every member is constantly aware, and continuously examining their processes and environment for possible safety issues. In turn, they recognize how something minute could turn into something catastrophic, which empowers them to correct it before that ever becomes a possibility.

For the PI Fair, approximately 20 departments submitted their projects that ranged from reducing no-show rates to improving diabetic hemoglobin.

The hospital recognized five specific departments; Safety Department, Best Presentation of Data; Pediatrics, Best Use of Methodology; Multi-Service Unit, Greatest Contribution to Safety; Dental Department, Greatest Impact on Command Priorities; and the Quality of Care Committee for the Commanding Officer's Excellence Award.

"We worked very hard to improve our dental index and are humbled to receive this award," said dental hygienist Tiffny Kuper. "Our hospital is located in a heavily deployable area and so ensuring our dental readiness is high helps ensure our warfighters are mission ready."

In fact, the USNH Guam dental index is one of the highest in all of Navy Medicine. While readiness is a part of the command's mission, its vision is to "Lead Navy Medicine in safe, quality, and high-value care," and they have seen this become a reality in many of the Navy Medicine metrics through ongoing PI.

"During my visit I have seen some very motivated Sailors, dedicated to the mission of providing high-quality and safe care," said Gilligham. "This is exactly the kind of thing that fosters a culture of safety and allows us as a whole to become leaders in the HRO concept."

During the visit Gillingham also held an Admiral's Call where he discussed different topics related to military medicine, including the upcoming U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery reorganization. He also took time to answer Sailors' questions and concerns.

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