Project Description

University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), located in Chicago, Illinois, is an alliance of 116 academic medical centers and 264 of their affiliated hospitals representing approximately 90% of the nation’s non-profit academic medical centers. UHC offers an array of performance improvement products and services. Powerful databases provide comparative data in clinical, operational, faculty practice management, financial, patient safety, and supply chain areas. Programs such as UHC’s Imperatives for Quality and the UHC/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ offer opportunities for knowledge sharing and education. Listservers allow members from across the country to share information and demonstrate the power of collaboration. UHC’s vision of the future is to help members attain national leadership in health care by achieving excellence in quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness.


Cathy Krsek, Sr. Director Quality Operations at UHC, was struggling to create efficiency and free up time for her staff to work with members due to overwhelming workload. She needed to find a way to prioritize and manage the organizational and time-management side of providing support to the consortium’s members. She wanted to improve efficiency, allowing her staff to better assist members in improving metrics in key areas, including readmissions, hospital acquired infections, length of stay and patient satisfaction. She also wanted to her staff be on the cutting edge in terms of new programs, new technology and productivity systems — and be able to pass these efficiencies on to consortium members.


Cathy worked with McGhee Productivity Solutions Senior Consultant Kymme Lightfoot to implement the Take Back Your Life! (TBYL) program within her team at UHC. Cathy wanted to leverage Microsoft Outlook at a very high level, but as particularly intrigued by the methodologies of TBYL to drive effectiveness and productivity. She wanted her team to be on the cutting edge of productivity technology. In working with Kymme, Cathy set out to accomplish the following:

  • Streamline the organization of multiple priorities, tasks and deadlines
  • Utilize the proven tools and methodologies of TBYL, including the McGhee Workflow Model and the Four D’s for Decision Making
  • Increase the team’s efficiency in using Microsoft Outlook
  • Building and using the an Integrated Management System throughout her team

Kymme worked with Cathy and her team to develop an implementation strategy for TBYL, consisting of:

  • A TBYL session with the Cathy’s entire staff
  • Specific focus on helping team members control their inbox, not the other way around.
  • Training goals geared toward streamlining workflow and accomplishing more important, higher priority tasks


After completing the TBYL program, the team at UHC feels a greater sense of control, utilizing their task list and calendaring tools in Outlook to stay organized and effective. In addition, the team has greatly reduced email overwhelm, taking control of their inbox, rather than having their inbox control them. One staff member suggested that, through the TBYL methodologies, priorities and tasks are now back into perspective, allowing her to reduce stress by organizing and prioritizing. The team is meeting deadlines, freeing time to focus on key tasks and objectives. The TBYL training has created a higher degree of organization and accountability within the team at UHC, Nobody on the team uses a paper to-do list anymore, maintaining all of their important and strategic tasks in their Outlook system, being sure to calendar time to complete projects and tasks to help them plan.

As a standard practice, McGhee collects data prior to and after the group seminar to measure impact and return on investment. Results of the TBYL program included:

  • Efficiently organizing items in to-do lists and tasks; assigning dates and deadlines
  • Managing work more effectively and experiencing less stress
  • Working with cutting-edge systems and developing expertise in new programs/technology
  • Providing much better service to consortium members
  • Increased bandwidth for tactical the day-to-day work

“From the educational viewpoint, the practical method that McGhee uses with a combination of process and application in the classroom leads to the greater level of retention back on the job.”
– Terri Trewartha Kinney: Director, Education and Organization Development.

For more information about McGhee products and services, please call the McGhee information line at 1-866-400-9948 or send an e-mail to [email protected].