April 24, 2014

Unit-based teams

Getting Started as a Team

If you are just getting started, welcome to the world of unit-based teams. UBTs, first negotiated as part of the 2005 National Agreement, are the platform for continually improving care and service across Kaiser Permanente. A unit-based team also supports the regional business strategy and goals for service, quality, affordability and growth.

A team includes all the participants in a work unit or department, including supervisors and managers, union stewards and staff members, physicians and dentists. UBTs tap the creativity, skills and experience of their members in order to improve team performance. They use specific methods and tools highlighted throughout this section of the website.

You’ll find information in this section on:

  • The values that guide UBT work.
  • How your team can establish a shared vision and goals.
  • The broader social and economic context in which KP and UBTs operate.
  • New ways of making team decisions.
  • How to record your tests of change.

Performance Improvement

When frontline teams are focused on improving performance, they are actively making changes to help them deliver the best quality and best service at the most affordable price while creating the best place to work—priorities embodied by the Value Compass.

According to Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health System Performance, when we create an environment in which continuous learning and improvement come naturally, then: 

  • Teams become capable of setting metrics to gauge both outcomes and improvement processes for key areas.
  • Best practices emerge that are based in results.
  • The organization creates systems to facilitate the learning, sharing and spread of best practices.
  • The organization pursues its goals from the top down and the bottom up.
  • Staff members participate in improvement, giving them ownership in the changed work processes.
  • Operational leaders, from stewards to medical center directors, learn deeper improvement skills.  

This section is full of tools and tips your team can use to move along the Path to Performance, the scale used to measure a team’s progress.

Communication and Meetings

Successful teams communicate effectively. To run the small tests of change that help teams continuously improve how the work is done, team members need to communicate, coordinate and make decisions. Sometimes that’s done in meetings—and learning when and how to have a formal meeting and when to have a huddle or quick check-in is part of becoming a high-performing team.

Since not all team members necessarily attend all meetings, however, it’s important that every team to find ways to communicate with and engage everyone on the UBT in other ways, too.

In this section, you’ll find tips on effective ways to keep your team functioning smoothly and communicating well.

Supporting Your Team

Collaborative leadership is a hallmark of partnership. Whether you are a UBT sponsor, whose job it is to remove barriers and help a team move along the Path to Performance, or a manager or union team co-lead, there are great resources here to help you build your skills as a leader.

For some, this kind of leading in partnership is new. For others, it will reflect the way you have always done things. Either way, each new challenge gives you a chance to hone your skills and help your team succeed.

This section includes information on:

  • How to be an outstanding UBT sponsor.
  • How to coach your teammates and give feedback.
  • Where to get trained on UBT leadership techniques.
  • Video testimonies from frontline sponsors. 

How to Involve Patients in Performance Improvement

03/11/2014 Listen to a one-hour talk show style webinar on how UBTs are involving patients in their performance improvement work and how your team can, too. [ STORY ]

From Frenzied to Focused

01/07/2014 What team doesn’t struggle with competing demands? Find out how UBT supporters are helping their teams figure out their priorities in the cover story from the Winter 2014 issue of Hank. [ STORY ]