Construction Update: Building the Bridge Between Quality Improvement and Environmental Sustainability

Thanks to Janet Brown from the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI) and to HHI for hosting our webinar series that kicked off last week.   On 27 February, I was joined by friends Blair Sadler, senior fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Jeff Rich, executive director of Gundersen Health’s Envision.

Blair, former CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, set the stage for the session by redefining the Triple Aim in health care--population health, patient experience of care and lower per capita costs--from the perspective of Environmental sustainability.  Blair then gave a fast tour of the HHI describing the Healthier Hospital Initiative as a practical starting point for hospitals to get on the sustainability road.

Blair introduced Jeff, who summarized in 30 slides and 25-minute the remarkable story of Gundersen Health system’s work in sustainability since 2008.   Gundersen has great accomplisments in all six of the HHI challenges but Jeff focused on Leaner Energy, recounting Gundersen’s progress in becoming fossil-fuel independent.   Their energy journey started with energy conservation.  Jeff made a compelling case for the role of quality improvement thinking and tools in identifying, tracking and sustaining changes in energy performance.

The new Gundersen Health hospital, opened this past January, aims to be more energy efficient than 99% of the hospitals in the U.S.

I finished session 1 by working through the specifics of the HHI Leaner Energy Challenge, which asks participating organizations to measure something called “weather-adjusted energy intensity.”  After laying out the energy basics for my quality improvement colleagues, I gave a brief introduction to the ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager system, which provides HHI participants with the calculations needed for the Leaner Energy Challenge.    Portfolio Manager is a free web application that is a standard source for energy benchmarking of facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s a link to the pdf of the slides we shared.

Next Session

On 13 March, we’ll continue to build the bridge between energy management and quality improvement.  The main topic next Thursday: modeling energy use in a building using monthly utility data, to enable a short term forecast to test the impact of facility changes.  If you are comfortable with the energy definitions we presented last week—can you explain the meaning of the energy data shown in our picture?--and have a little experience with regression and control charts or you have a colleague who has that experience, you should be able to follow along.  You or your friend can then try out the technique, either on a test data set we’ll provide or data from your own facility.

Join us Thursday 13 March at 2 pm EST.   Registration is required for the free session, here’s the link.

Webinar 2: Building the Bridge Between Quality Improvement and Environmental Sustainability

Another Example of "You can See A Lot by Just Looking "Daily Temperature and Electric Energy Use"