We Have a Long Way to Go

My Dad recently suffered a devastating stroke… as such I traveled to see him this week.

When I first arrived he was in a major hospital within a major city within a major country. Yes, I’m being vague so the political junkies don’t start shooting their mouths off.

Anyhow, during my visit I immediately realized how important applying continuous improvement in the healthcare environment is. I don’t want to harp on all the issues… nor do I want to point fingers at the folks doing their best at this hospital.

You see, the problem isn’t the people.  The problem is the process, or lack thereof.  These folks are trying so hard within such a broken system it nearly draws a tear to your eye.

Luckily, on the second day of my visit my Dad was transferred to a stroke rehab hospital that is top notch.  This place is clean, organized, and very well run.  At one point I sat back and marveled at how well these folks performed their jobs. 

In other words, excellence in healthcare is possible.  It just takes some focus and effort.  As such, I am so grateful for the work people like Mark Graban do each and every day. 

I have always been a “shop guy” meaning I’ve mostly applied lean and six sigma in manufacturing and office environments.  I’ve not had the opportunity to apply lean thinking in the healthcare world.  I intend to change this in the coming years. 

Finally, please do me a favor and call your parents and tell them you love them today.  And, if you feel so inclined, please pray for my Dad.  His name is Ron.

8 Comments

  1. Rafa

    September 24, 2010 - 8:03 am

    Thank you for sharing Ron. Will keep your Dad in my prayers, and hope he gets better soon.

  2. Tom Southworth

    September 24, 2010 - 8:41 pm

    Ron,

    I’m sorry to hear the news about your Dad. I’m praying and pulling for him, and for you and your family.

    Tom

  3. Wilson

    September 25, 2010 - 7:42 am

    Ron, I hope your dad is recovering quickly and he can be among with you again raising a glass to toast for the years we have left to live. From here, are my prayers for your dad and your family.

  4. Ariana Soriano

    September 25, 2010 - 8:14 am

    Wishing your Dad all the best. My prayers are with him and your family.

  5. Mark R Hamel

    September 25, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    Ron,

    Consider you and your father on the daily prayer list.

    BTW, I do lean implementation work within the health care field, among others. The condition of our system, from the perspective of patient safety, can be pretty scary. This is supported by my own direct observation and emphasized recently by one health care worker who basically told me to avoid going to the hospital unless it’s an absolute emergency.

    Functional silos, as we know, induce a lot of muda. In health care, functional silos can do a lot worse.

  6. Mark Graban

    September 25, 2010 - 5:25 pm

    Thoughts and prayers to your dad and your family, Ron.

  7. Mike

    September 27, 2010 - 5:58 am

    My prayers for your father’s speedy recovery and for your peace of mind.

    My own experience with health care systems recently leads me to believe one of the root causes of the broken systems is overload. Providers at all levels seem to be trying to deal with too many patients in too little time.