From assembly line to ER (White Coat, Black Art: CBC Radio One)


Can a production system developed to make better, safer cars also make better, safer healthcare? A growing number of hospitals in Canada seem to think so — that’s why they have adopted the “Lean” production system. The province of Saskatchewan is so convinced, it’s bringing in ‘lean’ province-wide. Also known as “The Toyota Way” — the car company created it more than 40 years ago– to “minimize waste and maximize customer service.” It’s since become a buzz word in manufacturing and management.

On today’s show, we look at how “The Toyota Way” might translate to health care, what it means to you. Dr. Brian Goldman visits the Wisconsin hospital that was one of the first to test drive the Toyota Production System on patients — and meets the doctor who made it possible. From there to Saskatchewan, the birthplace of medicare, where one of Canada’s leading health care pundits, Steven Lewis, gives his report card on that province’s revolutionary attempt to bring Lean to every hospital, clinic, doctor and nurse. Brian also visits St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener where the CEO says Lean helped the hospital improve its record for safe health care and its reputation.

To listen to the program, click on this link

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