What They’re Watching: Randi Anderson

Randi Anderson is the manager of the Floyd Jones Learning, Innovation and Simulation Center at Virginia Mason. The center serves as an “education hub and incubator” where patients and their families collaborate with VM staff in the organization’s continuous improvement workshops to advance quality, safety, and efficiency. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss the business of health care and corporate culture.



“Nurses, physical therapists, providers, PAs, MDs, surgeons — how are we training them? Because the way we’re practicing medicine now has to change if we’re going to change and stay up with the current time. So, if health care wants to stay a viable business, we can’t keep doing health care the way we’ve always been doing it.

Right now we’re really focused on teaching our doctors how to be more collaborative, more interdisciplinary, and that pulling in nurses into the care plan, pulling in those physical therapists into the care plan instead of just dictating out what other professions should do is showing us a ton of increased efficiencies. So, we’re able to shorten those gaps in communication between what a doctor is thinking and trying to communicate with what actually comes out in the patient’s care… So, we like to focus on that as far as our mental energy of how do we improve those fundamental issues of how we practice medicine through training, education, and creating a new system?

So, we brought on, kind of, Lean or Kaizen as our management methodology about 20 years ago and it was a big thing. It was not a small tiny, ‘we’re going to dabble in this.’ We went all in and it changed our culture for the better. Fast forward 20 years now, we’re in a position where when we interview new grads that want to come and do their residencies with us or nurses that are joining us, we ask a lot of interview questions around change, change management, and what their philosophy is on change. And if it’s not a match, it’s not a match. So, we’re breeding in the culture of continuous innovation and that every day you’re going to change something about your work. And for some that’s really invigorating and it’s really inspiring and for others it’s fear inducing. It makes them feel like it’s not a good fit. And that’s okay but what we’re trying to do is create this culture where we’re constantly looking for how to improve it. It can be small-scale, tiny little increments or it can be large-scale process disruption. But either way you have to have the mindset that you’re going to change things in order to make it better and that doing what we’ve always been doing isn’t working any longer.”