Performance Improvement Excellence at SightLife

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Healthcare Disscussion
SightLife is a global health organization based in Seattle, Washington, focused on eliminating corneal blindness. Once a family has made the decision to donate a loved one’s corneas, the organization evaluates the tissue to ensure it will be safe for transplant. Working in partnership with surgeons and health organizations in more than 30 countries, SightLife is dedicated to restoring sight to the approximately 10 million corneal blind around the world. 

SightLife’s ability to eliminate corneal blindness hinges heavily on the success of its conversion rate (the rate at which potential cornea donors actually become donors). The higher the conversion rate, the higher the number of corneas available to those waiting for a transplant. 


Operation MAX was designed to improve cross-team communication and proactively identify how declines in individual or team performance have a ripple effect across the organization. Coaching and retraining take place when a specific KPI indicates that individuals or teams are underperforming or repeating mistakes that were previously addressed during onboarding and initial technical training sessions. The practice serves all operations-based staff including employees in the following areas: phone center, technical operations, quality control and document review coordinators, and external, partner-facing team members. 

With this practice in place, the conversion rate increased by 20 percent in a region that presents approximately 50 percent of potential cornea donors. In another region, the conversion rate increased by about 9 percent. 

Since the program was implemented in 2012, it has evolved into an integral part of the organization’s data-driven performance improvement culture. SightLife has emerged as a leader in the industry with unprecedented success in their key operation metrics. 

Editor’s Note: SightLife was an ATD Excellence in Practice Award winner. Applications for the 2017 awards open July 1.

About the Author

Kristen Fyfe-Mills is the associate director of communications for the Association for Talent Development (ATD). In her role she works with ATD staff to plan and execute strategic communications for the association's initiatives and is the primary point of contact for media. Kristen is the executive producer of ATD-TV, manages ATD's public policy efforts and the association's awards programs. Kristen is a published author, coach, and speaker with diverse experience in broadcast journalism, and corporate, and nonprofit communications.

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