How Applesauce Saves a Hospital $30,000 per Year

By Ron Pereira Updated on September 22nd, 2022

Kaizen in the NICU2016 definitely started with a bang for the Gemba Academy video production team!

We just recorded another Gemba Academy Live! episode at Franciscan Health in Indianapolis.  It was the first time we’ve visited a hospital and let me just say… it was awesome!

Our team is now busy editing it all up and we’ll look to release the full episode to Gemba Academy subscribers later this month.

In the meantime, I want to share three key lessons I walked away with.

Lean works anywhere

The first thing that moved me was how open and successful this group of people has been.  Never once did I hear that they don’t make cars or that they’re different and that lean doesn’t work in a hospital.

Instead, what I heard were stories of how NICU nurses were practicing lean in order to find better, easier, ways to change bed sheets so the premature and extremely sensitive baby isn’t disturbed.

I also heard how one Endoscopy nurse discovered how applesauce could be used to help patients swallow a long probe.  Oh, and even though money wasn’t why this improvement was made, ends up this applesauce kaizen saves the hospital $30,000 every year since applesauce is far more affordable than the old, less tasty, substance (that often made patients vomit).

Small changes add up

The second thing that resonated with me was how hundreds of small improvements result in serious organizational culture change.

One nurse explained how she’s completed more than 300 kaizen improvements.  Were these improvements all massive?  Nope.  But what was very evident was how each and every hospital associate came to work thinking about how to make their jobs, and their patient’s experiences, better.

Focus on the customer

The last thing I’d like to share was how each and every nurse I spoke to was laser focused on improving the experiences of their customers.

For many, these customers were obviously patients.  And yet, for others, the customer was an ER doctor who seemed to have to reach a bit too far for certain instruments.

So, the next time you’re wondering what sorts of improvements you should focus on all you need to do is find out what your customers – internal and external – struggle with.  And once you identify it quickly move to counter it.  That, my friends, is exactly what the good folks at Franciscan do each and every day and, goodness, it’s effective.

  1. Anthony Gomez

    February 8, 2016 - 6:08 pm

    Looking forward to this video series!

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