QI Story: Kaizen Quality Improvement Model Revolutionizes Healthcare Waste Management

The Impact Of The Kaizen Quality Improvement Model On Waste Management In A Medium Health Facility In Kajiado County, Kenya

Presented by: Samuel Otieno, Laboratory Technologist/Quality Improvement & IPC Coordinator

In the heart of Kajiado County, Kenya, a silent revolution is taking place in healthcare waste management [HCWM]. In a private medium-level healthcare facility, Topcare Nursing Home, the introduction of the Kaizen quality improvement model is making waves and reshaping the landscape of waste management. The results are nothing short of astounding.

A Quality Improvement Endeavor:

The significance of proper healthcare waste management cannot be overstated, and it’s a challenge that medium-level hospitals in Kenya grapple with. Kaizen, a philosophy of continuous quality improvement, is the driving force behind this remarkable transformation. The Kaizen model focuses on five key principles: Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. These principles lay the foundation for incremental, yet significant, improvements. “We used this approach to work on healthcare waste management…We needed several stakeholders in areas that generated waste,” said Samuel. “The problem we were trying to solve was HCWM, which was not good then,” he added.

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A Methodical Approach:

The journey towards effective HCWM at Topcare Nursing Home unfolded from December 2019 to March 2020, a period of meticulous Kaizen implementation. A standard observation checklist was employed to gauge the impact, enabling data collection on various parameters related to waste management. These included instances of bin liners placed in the wrong bins, bin liner stock-outs, bins without liners, the mixing of waste at the point of collection, misplaced waste bins (bins in areas that don’t generate waste), and the mixing of waste bags at the waste storage area.

Turning Data into Action:

The baseline data served as a compass for the subsequent improvement measures. These interventions encompassed training, procurement of essential supplies, optimizing waste bin placement, and the establishment of a routine for waste collection. The impact of Kaizen implementation was tracked and compared to the initial state.

A Paradigm Shift:

The profound change in healthcare waste management at Topcare Nursing Home highlights the tangible positive impact of the Kaizen model. Monitoring specific indicators allowed for targeted interventions, a key driver behind this remarkable success. The lessons learned and the success achieved at Topcare Nursing Home opens the door for the application of the Kaizen model in other healthcare settings, promising quality improvements and a brighter, more sustainable future in healthcare waste management.

Read More about the QI story below:

This is part of the storytelling contest submission for World Patient Safety Month. Read more here.

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