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John Black and Associates Contract to End Early

Released on December 29, 2014

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health is ending its contract with John Black and Associates (JBA) to support the implementation of Lean across the provincial health system.

Collectively, the province’s health regions and health care organizations have acquired sufficient knowledge and training that they are now in a position to make the final move toward self-sufficiency and take ownership of this ambitious initiative.  Currently, more than 200 health system staff have received their lean leader certification.  These leaders will take over the role of training other staff and leading continuous improvement events.

“While our relationship with JBA has been very worthwhile in terms of improving health service delivery and reducing costs in our health care system, we feel we have now reached a point where we can move forward on our own and, in doing so, we will be able reduce costs associated with continuing the JBA contract,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.

The contract was originally scheduled to conclude in June 2015, with the option for an extension to September 2015.  The Ministry of Health has given notice to end the contract in 90 days, at the end of March 2015.

“We are strongly committed to continuing our Lean journey throughout the health system,” Duncan said.  “Moving up the end date for the contract will mean that the transition to managing the quality improvement work within our internal capacity will happen more swiftly.”

Lean management has been transformational for the Saskatchewan health care system – an initiative of this scale has not been undertaken anywhere in the world.  This investment will continue to yield benefits for Saskatchewan residents and patients for many years to come.

Some improvement measures to date include:
  • In Saskatoon Health Region, the time for pediatric cardiology patients from registration to discharge was cut in half.  Appointments that averaged 2 hours 30 minutes now take 1 hour 16 minutes.
  • In Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, cancellations of MRI scans have been reduced from 12 to 1 per week, allowing the region to do 650 more scans per year.
  • Sun Sunrise Health Region, 100 per cent of severely ill mental health patients get appointments within 24 hours – up from 50 per cent.
  • In Five Hills Health Region, the wait time for patients at its lab was reduced by 76 per cent.
  • Previously in Prairie North Health Region, 84 per cent of certain medication orders contained missing information.  Through a mistake proofing event these errors have been reduced to zero.
  • In Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, 100 per cent of hip and knee patients now have a one-stop shop for non-surgical care, which provides co-ordinated appointments for patients and helps speed up their recovery.
The Ministry of Health and Health Quality Council will provide oversight and guidance to facilitate the transition to self-sufficiency in Quality Improvement.


For more information, contact:

Joan Petrie
Phone: 306-787-8433
Cell: 306-519-4803

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