Cali Keating is Quinte Health Care’s new Continuous Improvement Specialist. Here, she explains her passion for process improvement and its positive impact in a healthcare setting.
Tell us a bit about your background, Cali?
I joined QHC after finishing my MBA (Master in Business Administration) at Ivey Business School. During the early heights of the pandemic, my family moved to the Quinte region from small-town Nova Scotia on a military posting and we love it here: so much so, we’re here to stay. My background is a mix between healthcare and career coaching. I’ve worked in hospitals, contract research organizations and in community non-profits. I’ve also served military members, veterans and their families as a career coach, helping them carve their career paths and figure out what’s next. I’ve always enjoyed coaching people through change, which is how I found my happy place in hospital process improvement.
What interests you about process improvement?
Process improvement is a fun balance of three things I really like: strategy, coaching and implementation. The scope and range of what you can do with process improvement is mind blowing. I first learned about this type of work in hospitals as an undergrad co-op student and I’ve been hooked ever since. Process improvement doesn’t have to be a huge overhaul or a revolutionary transformation. The beauty is, it can be done at any scale with any size team. You can look at all aspects of healthcare from a process improvement lens, from everyday job nuances like equipment user-friendliness to large strategic moves like co-developing new services.
What are some of the projects you’ll be working on at QHC?
I jumped on some of our strategic priorities around our diagnostic imaging right from the get-go. I’ve been working with our rock star DI booking and COVID assessment call centre teams to identify opportunities for improvement and implement process change. I’ve also been supporting some of our Grassroots initiatives around strategic priorities and professional practice. In the background, I’m starting to work on a very interesting concept: patient leadership. This involves empowering patients to co-design processes with us, so that our services truly reflect the needs and wants of our patients. With Lumeo on the horizon, I’m excited to see where I can support teams in the planning and implementation of our new regional health information system.
The highlight of my work so far has been seeing the innovation and problem solving generated by our teams. On top of being fantastic at the core work they do, our colleagues are highly creative and talented problem solvers. One of my personal goals for my role with QHC is to work with as many departments, units and teams as I possibly can across our four sites to ensure that as many people as possible in our organization are equipped to champion change.
Why are improvement initiatives such as these so important to our hospitals and the care we provide?
Improvement initiatives and our commitment to learning are what give us the knowledge, tools and equipment to provide exceptional patient care. These initiatives show our patients that we are actively seeking to improve the care they receive in our communities. When we commit to an improvement initiative, our staff benefit from better tools and processes to streamline workflows and amplify their positive impact. Patients receive better access to or quality of care, which creates a ripple effect across their families and loved ones. This dedication to continuous improvement is incredibly important because of the impact it has across all areas of the care we provide at QHC.
You had the opportunity to pivot into any industry after school. Why make the decision to return to healthcare and join QHC?
The people. I love working for an organization that serves everyone in the community I belong to, regardless of their background, views or beliefs. When I took a step back to assess my career to date and my options, I didn’t share the same enthusiasm for banking or consulting as my classmates. Neither industry made me feel the way that working in healthcare, or especially in a hospital, does. I decided to go back to school with full intent on returning to healthcare and to the Quinte region so that I could make my impact here.
I also had a unique opportunity to complete my student consulting project with QHC. Every employee I met during this time, across departments and sites, spoke about how much they love the people they work with. It’s not often you come across so many people genuinely agreeing on the same thing, so I knew there had to be something special here. Turns out, there definitely is. Thanks for the endless warm welcomes, smiles, and hellos, QHC!