How Toyota Can Save Your Life…

ChangeThis :: How Toyota Can Save Your Life…At the Hospital

The page linked to above has an essay I was invited to write about the healthcare and the Toyota Production System, for the website “ChangeThis.”

A direct link to the essay is here (in pdf format).

The publisher’s overview of the essay:

It’s well-known that the safety standards of Toyota vehicles are singularly high due to the company’s commitment to innovation and precision. But the Toyota philosophy can save your life at the hospital as well. There are over 100,000 deaths in hospitals each year as a result of systematic failure. Graban asserts that a lean manufacturing approach, like Toyota’s, is the answer to saving healthcare…and possibly your life.

Healthcare, the system, is very broken. Far too many patients are being injured and killed unnecessarily, In the essay, written for a general audience, I try to lay out the need for change and examples of how the Toyota Production System and lean mindsets can make at least some improvements.

What do you think? For updates to and further explanations of items in the essay, click on the “ChangeThis” link at the end of this post.

Check out the other essays on the ChangeThis main page including a thought provoking piece by Stanford professor Bob Sutton on “The Upside of Assholes: Is there Virtue in Bad Workplace Behavior?” His answer is “no,” as he’s the author of the book The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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5 Comments on "How Toyota Can Save Your Life…"

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  1. Aunt B says:

    Did you adopt this principle from Clare Crawford-Mason? This is powerful.

  2. curiouscat says:

    Great job.

  3. Mark Graban says:

    Aunt B- I really admire Clare and her “Good News” DVD, I recommend it whenever I can. I hope her DVD inspires many people to drive change in healthcare.

  4. Arlan says:

    If you don’t know Dr. Bob, he provides a lot of insight into the medical profession, and the forces which are driving it in the wrong direction:

  5. Anonymous says:

    IATA has for many years had a reporting system to ensure that if one airline encounters a safety-related incident, all others are informed and a repetition is avoided worldwide.

    Example: taxiing an aircraft from one part of the airfield to another uses just one engine. When you arrive, you discover that the engine you were using isn’t the one that’s connected to the hydraulics. Result: no brakes, and one bent aircraft.

    Reported via IATA’s system.

    Result: airline procedures manuals worldwide are amended – “Step 6A: check that the hydraulics are connected to the engine you’re using”.

    There is no excuse for healthcare not to copy this.

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