“Promise of Lean” article hits the mark

2013-01-16 Bull's eye

Was it the title?

Was it because of who wrote it?

Or was it because of where it was published?

An article we included in Friday’s edition of our daily eLetter, Health Clips set a new record for number of clicks: 525 (at last count). “The Promise of Lean in Health Care” is co-written by John Toussaint (who spoke at Saskatchewan’s Quality Summit a few years back) and published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

We’ve seen considerable interest in the Lean-flavored content we’ve been including in Clips. But nothing like this. To put that new record into context, the most popular item in any given day’s edition typically grabs between 150 and 200 clicks.

Toussaint’s article is an easy, 8-page read that provides a great overview of Lean’s application to health care, with good examples to illustrate.

Here are 3 things that really stood out for me…

1. The case studies in the article go beyond the usual suspects. In Saskatchewan, we’re talking a lot about Virginia Mason, Thedacare, Seattle Children’s, Park Nicollet. And for good reason. These systems have made major strides with Lean. But it’s good to read about other systems that are using Lean to value for patients, including Christie Clinic (Champaign, Illinois); St. Jude Medical Center (Fullerton, California); New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation; Martin Health System (Stuart, Florida); and, Inova (Virginia).

2. It’s hard not be envious of the great things these other systems are achieving: Surgeries begin at scheduled start time 99% of the time. OR turnaround time reduced from 60 minutes to less than 40 minutes. Zero cases of ventilator-acquired pneumonia for more than 3 years. Wait time to see a physician in the ER reduced from 55 minutes to 22 minutes.  Who wouldn’t want to be able to brag about similar breakthroughs right here in Saskatchewan?

3. This statement: “…the people in charge may have to change the most for a Lean culture to develop.” Now THAT is a big shift in our historically hierarchical, top-down health care system. Says Touissaint: “Lean, in a sense, turns leadership upside down, with front-line workers doing much of the innovating and managers trusting them to do it and supporting them. Respect for the potential of front-line workers to have the brainpower and commitment to improve the work must pervade the organization. Respect flows downward, not just upward.” Talk about a sea change.

I could go on — there are lots of other gems in the piece.

What did YOU think of the article? What in it resonated with you?

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