Below is a Toyota expression that I love… and this is a statement that could apply in any type of organization, don’t you think? When people ask me, “How can this Toyota stuff apply to a hospital?”, I think this statement covers the foundation of it pretty well:
“Every Toyota team member is empowered with the ability to improve their work environment. This includes everything from quality and safety to the environment and productivity. Improvements and suggestions by team members are the cornerstone of Toyota’s success.”
It works just as well for a mythical Keller Community Hospital (a hospital that doesn’t exist, but I’m starting to use it as an example of the hospital that I would want in my community):
“Every Keller Community Hospital team member is empowered with the ability to improve their work environment. This includes everything from quality and safety to the environment and productivity. Improvements and suggestions by team members are the cornerstone of Keller Community Hospital’s success.”
I had such a good afternoon yesterday, visiting a real client of mine (a hospital laboratory) that has really embraced the above principle better than any I’ve ever worked with. They’ve expanded “Lean Management System” concepts (from my book and David Mann’s Creating a Lean Culture: Tools to Sustain Lean Conversions) throughout the different areas of the lab — clinical lab, blood bank, microbiology, and anatomic pathology. Employees are engaged in submitting and implementing their ideas, improvements are celebrated and posted visually, and performance measures are tracked, posted, and discussed daily in short team huddles.
I saw suggestions implemented that impacted employee safety, productivity, quality, and getting test results to patients and physicians more quickly. Every employee has the opportunity to participate in improvement. It’s such a great thing to see, watching people explain what changes they’ve made and seeing the pride on their faces.
Now, to spread that throughout the hospital… and the rest of healthcare.
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