Raise the Bar: Operational Excellence Team Supports Problem Solvers Across SolutionHealth


Led by Vice President of Operational Excellence Alisha Feightner, SolutionHealth’s Operational Excellence team includes Continuous Improvement, Business Operations Planning and Project Management Support, and the SolutionHealth Access Center. Newly integrated at the system level, the team is focused on building problem solving capability and excellence in all that we do across SolutionHealth, all with the goal of fostering a culture of continuous improvement, learning, innovation, collaboration, and engagement.

“Operational excellence goes beyond quality improvement methods and focuses on long-term change in the organization’s culture and leadership philosophy. Organizations that pursue operational excellence manage business and operational processes systematically, focus on becoming a learning organization, and invest in developing their people and creating the right culture in order to do that,” says Feightner. “When people understand what they do, why they do it, and how they can contribute to the organization’s vision, that’s when we get better at everything we touch. Operational excellence is needed more than ever with today’s technology-driven, rapidly changing business models. Health care is no different, especially given the rapid adoption of digital strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changing models require organizations to undergo transformation of processes and systems, and be able to respond and adapt quickly to changing and advancing markets to stay competitive.”

Building on continuous improvement work done at The Elliot and Southern in the past, the Operational Excellence team is charting a new course—“The SolutionHealth way”—in order to shape the culture across our organization. They are doing that by going to where the work gets done and learning from those closest to our operations.

Feightner explains, “We start by trying to understand the problem you are trying to solve through conversation, or we go and see the environment.”

Typically, the role of the Operational Excellence team is that of coach, guiding groups of colleagues as they discover the best approach to their unique problem. Tools used include Lean methodologies such as daily management systems and A3 Thinking.

Reflection and Celebration

Not every problem is easily solved. But every attempt at problem solving is an opportunity to learn. A big part of the operational excellence process is taking time to reflect and encouraging groups of colleagues to share what they learn with others. That’s the why the team will offer “Celebrating Improvement,” a virtual forum where teams can share their work with participants from across the organization.

“We don’t learn from experiences, we learn from reflecting on those experiences,” says Feightner. “Your improvement project might not have even gone well. But if you learned something and we can share that with others who might benefit, that’s valuable.”

What Makes the SolutionHealth Operational Excellence Team Special?

In addition to continuous improvement and project management, Feightner will oversee the soon to be launched SolutionHealth Access Center.

The system-wide center will be our future single call center for referrals, scheduling, transfers, and questions. It will also be the logistics center to help patients navigate the health care system.

“It’s unique in the operational excellence realm in health care to have an operational component,” explains Feightner. “But I see it as an amazing opportunity for us to live and breathe our way of thinking, and directly impact the patient experience, to be the change and embody the values.”

Change Promotes Growth

From straightforward process improvement projects to complex, multidepartment operations, the SolutionHealth Operational Excellence team is available to departments and teams across the organization. While no problem is too small, they do focus on work tied to our strategic goals. While change can be scary, it promotes growth—to advance our people, culture, and key results.

If your department or working group is interested in tackling a nagging problem or developing problem-solving skills in general, contact the Operational Excellence team!