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From Overwhelmed to Accomplished

Brigitte Garner's Story

Brigitte Garner.jpg

As COVID-19 overwhelmed hospitals, it caused a strain on the amount of urgently needed personal protection equipment (PPE) available for distribution. The pandemic’s rate of spread and resulting shutdowns created major supply chain issues for all KP facilities nationwide. To support the organization in sourcing and procuring critical equipment for our clinical staff, Kaiser quickly organized Tiger Teams. Segregated into functional categories, each team’s role was to source vendors and materials to ensure we could continue to produce and supply this PPE for the organization.

Brigitte Garner, Process Improvement Specialist and KP employee of nine years, was assigned as the Lead for the “Hand Sanitizer and Wipes / Disinfectant” Covid-19 Tiger Team. Although a seasoned consultant in Finance, Brigitte was not at all an expert on hand sanitizers and wipes. Nonetheless, she got to work securing alternative sources of hand sanitizer and wipes to prepare for the potential surge of patients anticipated over the upcoming weeks. Brigitte quickly learned that there are many stringent health guidelines and regulations that must be followed in order to produce a clinically acceptable product for our staff and patients. This meant that she had to verify that vendors met all the standards and followed all the rules, as well as have them go through several steps and forms for vetting and procurement.  

The outcome was a streamlined guide that operationalized and documented the process from A-Z. 

Brigitte quickly amassed a huge amount of detailed information on guidelines, regulations, and process requirements. Understandably, she became overwhelmed thinking about how to hand this off to the next person who would take it over. She was so mired in the work, most of it lived in her head, and she couldn’t figure out how to possibly transfer all this information to someone else. Upon hearing about her challenges, a colleague recommended Stretch@KP as a possible resource, and the team helped her scope and post a project within a few days. Brigitte initially hoped to recruit just one resource, but she had so many great candidates apply to her project that she ended up selecting three people to help her.


After a quick orientation meeting, the team got to work creating a playbook that would document everything Brigitte had done in a clear format.  The goal was to create a document that anyone could use to quickly get a solid understanding of the various guidelines. To that end, the team focused on recording established workflows, processes and procedures. In addition, they reviewed and translated various data elements into an easy-to-follow document with details on requirements and forms. Finally, they created checklists and even tested the workflows with vendor partners to ensure clarity and completeness. The outcome was a streamlined guide that operationalized and documented the process from A-Z. With the support and dedication of Stretch@KP participants, the comprehensive guidebook was implemented in just three short months!

Due to this work, KP can now supply our facilities, front line staff, and members with necessary PPE. 

300 suppliers were vetted from all over the world using these documented procedures. Due to this work, KP can now supply our facilities, front line staff, and members with necessary PPE within two days of ordering through Finance and Shared Services. This effort expedited needed PPE supplies to our staff, saved the organization money, and avoided duplication of work. Brigitte says, “I was just thrilled that this got done so efficiently and quickly - at first, I had no idea how I was going to get this done. Now I can hand this off and it has everything the next person will need to continue doing this work for the organization.” 

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