Whenever we can use kaizen to improve not only our economy but the other pillars of a whole society such as education or healthcare, we are truly blessed. Next week we will be learning a lot about how hospitals are applying lean management here on the Gemba Panta Rei blog. We will welcome the founder of the Lean Blog, lean healthcare consultant and author Mark Graban, to talk about his new book Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Safety and Patient Satisfaction.
It wasn’t hard to come up with 20 questions for Mark. Here are some of the questions we will ask about Mark’s experience in developing lean hospitals:
Q: In manufacturing settings overproduction is classically seen as the mother of all wastes. What is the equivalent waste in hospitals?
Q: You wrote in Lean Hospitals that it takes courage to point out that something is a waste. How have you been able to help create environments within hospitals where it is safe to point out the waste?
Q: On the topic of 5S you wrote “we need to take care that we are not using the tool (5S) without thinking about the problem that is being solved or the waste that is being prevented.” You gave the example that a heavy printer that is likely not to be moved should not be taped or labeled. Considering the fact that the risk of minor mistakes within hospitals can be so high (and the cost of tape so low) why not remove any possibility of ambiguity by insisting on strict adherence to 5S and that absolutely everything be labeled and its proper locaiton marked with tape?
Q: What are the most important points regarding change management within hospitals implementing lean management?
Q: Looking back on your years of implementing lean in hospitals, what is one thing you do very differently from when you first started?
And many more. Mark will also be taking your follow-up questions through the comment function on this blog so we hope to create a good in-depth dialog on this important topic of healthcare improvement.
Read the first chapter
I read Mark’s book and not only is it a highly readable primer on lean thinking in general, it gives specific examples of how lean tools and principles are being used at hospitals to improve safety, quality and employee satisfaction. I recommend it for all hospitals and healthcare professionals, whether they are enthusiastic about lean or skeptical. I recommend it for the lean professional outside of the healthcare field as a way to expand one’s understanding of how lean applies to a very unique industry. And last but not least, to all of us who are consumers of healthcare this book offers some insights which will empower us to see the work done in hospitals with perhaps more sympathy but also a critical eye for waste, and a stronger voice about safety and patient satisfaction. Mark has made available the first chapter of his book for download.
Mark Graban has generously agreed to give away copies of Lean Hospitals to readers next week, but to find out how, you will need to visit us. October 6-10, 2008, mark your calendars to join us to learn about lean healthcare.