By December 19, 2008 1 Comments Read More →

Healthcare Kaizen Events Survey Results, Part 1

Last month, I conducted a non-scientific online survey about the use of event-style Kaizen methodologies in healthcare. There were 41 responses, gathered from the following sources:

The first question (click for a larger view and then click Back to return) asked “Do you use an ‘event’ style methodology? If so, which name do you use?”

I was a bit surprised that the “Kaizen Event” name was so widespread. I thought that RPIW and RIE were the favored names in healthcare.

For those who used a different name, they were:

  • Workout or “event”
  • work conferences for innovation teams
  • We use all of the above
  • Use a modified Kaizen approach
  • Improvement events
  • Accelerated Improvement Workshop (AIW)
  • WorkOut

For those who answered, “Do not use events,” the breakdown was:

  • 18.3% (3 respondents) “Do not use Lean at all”
  • 81.3% (13) said they used a different methodology

These other methodologies were described as:

  • Implement LEAN per different projects
  • A3 problem solving
  • Improvement visual boards + A3 method
  • Combo and Lean and Six Sigma
  • Three management system
  • 6/3: 6 hours to define, understand and develop an intervention, then the intervention is implemented for a few days, then the group meets again for 3 hours to review progress and success of the intervention and adjust if necessary
  • Course designed to teach Value Stream Mapping and A3 Problem Solving; 5S Events
  • We use Lean Six Sigma and have only been doing that for a year. Because our managers have very little experience with improvement we have stuck to a more structured approach. We are beginning to use the 8D methodology as a way of doing Rapid Improvement while forcing a high degree of structure.
  • Lean transformation projects
  • Longer lean projects

When did hospitals get started with Lean or Kaizen Events?

One reported “we started 10 to 12 years ago,” which has to be one of the earlier instances of hospital Lean I’ve heard of.

In Part 2 of the Survey Results, I’ll report on the # of events held and reported success rates, with the use of Events or Lean in hospitals. I’ll plan on publishing this Part 2 on Monday, December 22. I’ll also have a Part 3 with lessons learned comments.


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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 eBook 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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