In March 1995, Kuakini Health System adopted the Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy. This philosophy has customer service as its focus. Since its introduction, the TQM philosophy has been integrated into the daily operations at Kuakini.
Total Quality Management (TQM) is defined as "a way to do business" through people, leadership, values and culture. It is the integration of quality and management concepts, tools and values into the culture and systems of an organization to achieve key business objectives through continuous improvement and total customer satisfaction.
One of the key components of implementing the TQM philosophy is the development of teams. The idea is to empower employees to work together as teams with the goal to improve "the way Kuakini does business.
In the implementation of the TQM philosophy, Kuakini teams use a seven-step problem solving process which is as follows:
• Identify the improvement opportunity
• Summarize the current situation
• Conduct a root cause analysis
• Create and test countermeasures
• Evaluate results
• Standardize the improvement process
• Determine "what's next?"
Kuakini's goal is to involve all employees in the TQM philosophy, either through participation on a team (within departments and between departments) or involvement in other continuous improvement activities.